Improved support for character set handling was added to MySQL in
version 4.1. This support enables you to store data using a
variety of character sets and perform comparisons according to a
variety of collations. You can specify character sets at the
server, database, table, and column level. MySQL supports the use
of character sets for the
MEMORY, and (as of MySQL 4.1.2)
InnoDB storage engines. The
ISAM storage engine does not include character
set support; there are no plans to change this, because
ISAM is deprecated.
NDBCLUSTER storage engine in
MySQL 4.1 (available beginning with MySQL 4.1.3-Max) provides
limited character set and collation support; see
Section 15.1.4, “Known Limitations of MySQL Cluster”.
This chapter discusses the following topics:
What are character sets and collations?
The multiple-level default system for character set assignment
Syntax for specifying character sets and collations
Affected functions and operations
The character sets and collations that are available, with notes
Character set issues affect not only data storage, but also
communication between client programs and the MySQL server. If you
want the client program to communicate with the server using a
character set different from the default, you'll need to indicate
which one. For example, to use the
character set, issue this statement after connecting to the
SET NAMES 'utf8';
For more information about configuring character sets for application use and character set-related issues in client/server communication, see Section 9.1.5, “Configuring the Character Set and Collation for Applications”, and Section 9.1.4, “Connection Character Sets and Collations”.