In a prior post I've written about using Oracle text to perform diacritic searches.
This post is about the table definition. Every now and then this problem rears its ugly head, that's why I decided to write this little note on it.
Let's look at the problem at hand. First we'll create a table:
SQL> create table test 2 (name varchar2 (7)) 3 / Table created.
No problem so far.. but what happens when we try to insert a name with diacritics into this table?
SQL> insert into test values ('Alèx') 2 / 1 row created.No problem. Or so it seems... what is the length of the name that I just inserted into the table?
SQL> select length (name) 2 from test 3 / LENGTH(NAME) ------------ 4
Even though the name contains a diacritic character, the length is four. But what if we insert a name with length seven with diacritic characters?
SQL> rollback 2 / Rollback complete. SQL> SQL> insert into test values ('Thérèse') 2 / insert into test values ('Thérèse') * ERROR at line 1: ORA-12899: value too large for column "ALEX"."TEST"."NAME" (actual: 9, maximum: 7)
The error message is not quite clear. It says the name is too long, but when you count them like
T h é r è s e 1 2 3 4 5 6 7it should match.... Of course it has to do with the diacritic characters in the name.
We can check this by using the LENGTHB function (notice the "B" at the end of Length)
SQL> with local_name 2 as 3 (select 'Thérèse' name 4 from dual 5 ) 6 select length (name) 7 , lengthb (name) 8 from local_name 9 / LENGTH(NAME) LENGTHB(NAME) ------------ ------------- 7 9
When we query the length in Bytes, it becomes obvious. The last name we inserted was too long in Bytes. How to fix this? Either increase the length of the column, or change it from BYTE to CHAR (and I don't mean the datatype CHAR)
SQL> drop table test 2 / Table dropped. SQL> create table test 2 (name varchar2 (7 char)) 3 / Table created.Now the column will allow up to seven characters in it regardless of the byte size of the data. Or at least that's how I interpret the documentation.
The name which we couldn't insert with a prior INSERT statement, now comfortably fits into the column:
SQL> insert into test values ('Thérèse') 2 / 1 row created.
So, when you use Multibyte characters, check you Length Semantics!
You can check your setting with this statement:
SQL> show parameter nls_length_semantics NAME TYPE VALUE ------------------------------------ ----------- ----- nls_length_semantics string BYTE
And just to clean up the test table.
SQL> drop table test 2 / Table dropped.