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A few videos ago we discussed UTF-8 and UTF-16 encoding, but when we are working with a database we do not worry about encodings as much as we do character sets. That’s because a specific character set is going to have a specific encoding.

The reason I am making this video is to introduce you to the most common character sets and to teach you the differences. That’s because as we go into the national character sets we need to understand the information taught in this video.

So the first character set I am going to teach you about is AL32UTF8. AL32UTF8 is a character set that uses the uff-8 encoding and each character can take up to 4 bytes with the utf-8 encoding. There is another character set (not encoding) called utf8 (no hyphen) which is also encoded with UTF-8. This can be a little confusing because UTF8 is the name of an encoding and a character set, but bear with me. Both of these character sets are UTF-8 encoded, but UTF8 uses an older version of UTF-8 encoding. Generally, they work about the same, but the way certain characters are stored is slightly different, specifically way certain characters are stored is slightly different, specifically what are known as supplementary characters, which take up 4 bytes.

The max size for a UTF8 character set is 3 bytes, as they do not directly support the supplementary characters as 4 bytes but instead store them across 2 groups of 3 bytes each.

Oracle recommends that you use AL32UTF8 for all future development instead of the archaic UTF8 character set.

There is another character set that you should know about, and that is AL16UTF16, which uses the UTF-16 encoding. Watch my video over UTF-8 and UTF-16 to learn more about UTF-16.

Lastly, there is a character set known as UTFE, which uses an encoding known as UTF-EBCDIC. This is like a super archaic character set, and I’m not even going to talk about it. I thought I would at least mention it as it is going to come up a bit in the next video’s topic.

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