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Dessert #6 - MySql & UTF-8

Posted on 16/9/06 by Felix Geisendörfer

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Update: An enhanced version of this post can be found here: Enforce utf8 for multiple db connections.

This is one goes way back to people in the mail group struggling with their UTF-8 data being displayed incorrectly and you've probably already heard about it. The basic problem was that the database itself would manage & store the data in UTF-8 but use a different encoding for the communication with PHP. Soon several approaches on how to fix this behavior were published.

The best (and most portable) one as it turned out, was to execute "SET NAMES 'UTF8'" before any other MySql queries get executed. So the suggestion of putting this logic into the AppModel::__construct() function came up pretty quickely.

The implemenation I am using right now was inspired by a post on the German CakeBakery and also the comment of using a constant made by Reen. The only thing I added was to check if the Model is actually using a table in order to make sure we don't execute this function on a Web Model or another non-DB datasource.

class AppModel extends Model
    function __construct($id = null, $table = null, $ds = null)
        parent::__construct($id, $table, $ds);
        if (!defined('MYSQL_SET_NAMES_UTF8') && $this->useTable!==false)
            $this->execute("SET NAMES 'UTF8'");
            define('MYSQL_SET_NAMES_UTF8', true);


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Walker Hamilton said on Sep 16, 2006:

Okay, I understand the concept, not the implementation. What page should I be putting this on or creating to put this on within my (app?) directory?

Felix Geisendörfer said on Sep 16, 2006:

You just create a file /app/app_model.php and paste the code from above into it - you're done.

Markus Bertheau said on Nov 20, 2006:

I wrote up something about MySQL and UTF-8. If you want an explanation why you need SET NAMES utf8, have a look at :)

Alvaro  said on Apr 25, 2007:

Great !

It just works...

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