MAMP and Navicat and Character Set Hell.

I’ve used Navicat for years. I’ve used MAMP Pro for years. Both tools are must haves as far as I’m concerned, but I had been having problems with special characters being corrupted for nearly 6 months. Every curly quote, m-dash or umlaut was torturous.

Briefly, the problem was that those special characters (like curly quotes) would be changed to question marks in my database after I had migrated it to or from my local development environment. I knew it was a character set problem, but all my setting seemed to be correct.

Seemed is the correct word though. Although my database level character sets were fine, I overlooked an important additional setting. First, I’ll show you what I got right initially.

database properites in Navicat

UTF-8 is what I wanted because I was using ExpressionEngine which uses this character set. In my situation, the online development and production servers both have their databases set to use UTF-8 and my local MAMP didn’t initially. Setting my local databases’ character set was the right thing to do. The problem was I was still having the problem when I transferred my data using Navicat.

It turns out the connection (aka, bookmark) also had it’s own character encoding that I hadn’t updated. The Encoding was using “Latin-US DOS”. Why? How? I’m not sure, but that’s was what it was set to. When I finally discovered this preference, switching it to UTF-8 ended my Character Set Hell once and for all.

Connection encoding properties dialog box in NavCat

Comments on this post.

Thanks for this, I will try out some of the tips ... what I am getting is my testing server (MAMP) gives me question marks for Chinese characters, but when I export it to production server (see link), all the Chinese is OK! So presumably configuration of MAMP needs looking at.

I do not want to immediately jump in and change things - in particular I think there may be a risk that changing character sets on the DB will change some of the data?

By Andy Macdonald on Nov 01 2016

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