1. Gzim Ramizi
  2. PowerBuilder
  3. Wednesday, 22 May 2019 17:17 PM UTC

Hi all,

we are evaluating some ideas to change our "default"-sort order of string columns on the database (oracle 12g), because of some special character(sets). Until now, we supported just usual ansi/german letters, but since database and powerbuilder supports unicode, we would like to accept also other letters with special characters (e.g.: ã,è, ë, ...). One idea is to create a mapping-function (which converts special characters in some ansi-equivalent-characters, ä=>ae, ë=>e) and then use that utility-function in our colums... An other idea is to change the "nls_sort" of our Oracle Database, but then we would have different sort order on database compared to the client (datawindow)... Do you know a way how to change/manipulate the sort order of a datawindow? Or maybe you could exchange some ideas with me which you already used for similar issues...

As far as I see, datawindow sort order is based on the order of the character set (unicode or whatever) which is currently used.

Thank you in advance.


Kind regards.

Accepted Answer
Chris Pollach @Appeon Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
  1. Wednesday, 22 May 2019 17:27 PM UTC
  2. PowerBuilder
  3. # Permalink

Hi Gzim;

   Yes, Appeon PB's sortation is based on the Unicode the UTF-16LE character set.

Regards ... Chris

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Olan Knight Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
  1. Sunday, 26 May 2019 00:51 AM UTC
  2. PowerBuilder
  3. # 1

Frankly, it sounds like you want a definitive SORT process that is NOT the standard UNICODE UTF-16LE sort order.

If this is the case, see if a function exists by which special characters can be identified and "stripped" of their non-standard feature. Or write one.

Example:  stripping the special character from  è and ë leaves  e.
              Now you can sort and both è and ë will sort as an  e.


You can also set up a secondary set ofrules to specify which special characters sort in what sequence.

Example:  The special character for è is  '  and the special character for  ë  is the umlaut ¨



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Michael Kramer Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
  1. Wednesday, 22 May 2019 22:29 PM UTC
  2. PowerBuilder
  3. # 2

Hi Gzim,

Regional settings influence sorting order in the PB client app. It can also influence sorting order in the database.

Real life example I experienced >>>

  • Corporate policy, server settings, and all but one user machine said regional settings = US English.
    • A sorts before Z
    • AA sorts before ZZ
    • AAA sorts before ZZZ
  • Single user had regional settings = Danish.
    • A sorts before Z 
    • AA sorts *AFTER* ZZ
    • AAA sorts *AFTER* ZZZ

Background to understand unexpected sorting: In 1948, Å was introduced in Danish to replace the more verbose AA. However, original AA is still legal and still represents Å - so AA sorts after ZZ.

Other languages may also have unexpected sorting sequences that you need to be aware of.

HTH /Michael

  1. Michael Kramer
  2. Monday, 27 May 2019 19:58 PM UTC
I would warn against writing your own collation algorithm because it is complex and time-consuming to get right. Instead, search for a library or O/S API that knows how to collate.


1) Spanish: NZ wedish: Z . However in Norwegian: Z guages character with and without accents/umlauts collate the same (like Olan's example). In others, they don't! Or they do, partially!

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