PlanetMySQL now in Japanese!
By Duleepa Wijayawardhana on Jan 22, 2009
Language support and collation is an issue which affects most web sites with a global audience. Neither PlanetMySQL or MySQL.com are immune to these problems. The problem both these sites face is that neither site was designed with asian languages in mind, the database and collations and connections are all mixed and none of them in utf-8. It means migration is always an issue, a matter of downtime and not necessarily a sure thing.
With PlanetMySQL we really wanted Japanese and in the future Chinese character set support. As you might notice on PlanetMySQL as of late you can now choose to see a Japanese feed which has made our Japanese colleagues incredibly happy!
To be honest, I cheated.
There were a few problems to solve quickly, one was that the MySQL DB tables are not in the UTF-8 collation. Converting the table to UTF-8 was an option but I opted for the quicker solution which I'm sure will come back to haunt me in the future but for now provided the best solution while we look towards a greater redesign and reworking of PlanetMySQL in the future.
A second problem was that SimplePie which we use to do our feed aggregation was not writing in as utf-8. That was a simple switch and Lenz removed all traces of any reference to MagpieRSS which we used before SimplePie.
A third problem was that the pages were being served in the latin1 character set.
To solve these problems in the quickest time possible with no downtime, I added a character set/collation type into our current languages table, switched SimplePie to read and write as UTF-8 and fixed the web pages to display as UTF-8 for any new languages.
Sometime in the future I'll have to bite the bullet and convert those tables to UTF-8, but for now, this solution works and we were able to add this quite quickly over the holidays.
Over the next little while we'll have to expand our language collection, language choices and fix/improve the interface to choosing languages. As with all things, PlanetMySQL is under a renewed movement for renovation. If you have any ideas or suggestions we always like to hear them. I can't promise everything will be addressed, but we will put them on the list to consider.