About Character Sets and Collation Orders

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CHAR, VARCHAR, and text BLOB columns in InterBase can use many different character sets. A character set defines the symbols that can be entered as text in a column, and its also defines the maximum number of bytes of storage necessary to represent each symbol. In some character sets, such as ISO8859_1, each symbol requires only a single byte of storage. In others, such as UNICODE_FSS, each symbol requires from 1 to 3 bytes of storage.

Each character set also has an implicit collation order that specifies how its symbols are sorted and ordered. Some character sets also support alternative collation orders. In all cases, choice of character set limits choice of collation orders. InterBase supports four different types of collation order: Windows, dBASE, Paradox, and ISO. The ISO collation sequence is recommended in preference to the other three.

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