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Character encoding confusion.

unicode collation

12:19 am on Aug 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm trying... really, but I'm SO confused about character encoding and MySQL collation. The more I read about it, the more confused I get. So let me ask 2 SIMPLE questions.

For a US based website that deals only with the English language, is:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

the correct encoding?

2nd, in MySQL, all my collation has defaulted to latin1_swedish_ci. Is this NOT correct for a US/English based website? I tried changing fields over to utf8_general_ci and it returned this error: "Column 'description' cannot be part of FULLTEXT index".

Ok, let me get greedy and throw in a 3rd question. If I have a webpage that has the WRONG charset, and data is retrieved via a form and put into MySQL with the RIGHT charset. What are the consequences if the two charsets aren't set right?
6:32 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

1) Correct

2) Not sure, but you *may* have to re-install MySQL with the correct collation to fix that. Someone else with more MySQL experience may have a better fix.

3) For the character sets you mentioned, I don't think you'll have a problem. Most problems occur when you are using double-byte charsets (like Japanese or Korean). But even then, if you only have standard ISO-8859-1 characters in your data, I think you'll be okay. My (limited) understanding is that the different sorting takes place above the standard ASCII characters, or at least sorting on ISO-8859-1 characters remains the same as in the ISO-8859-1 charset.