You should use whatever characterset is currently in your original 10g database to avoid issues with forms and reports.
That sounds prudent! I'll try that.
I see that our 10.1.0.5 database apparently uses:
whereas a previously installed 11gr2 database defaulted to this:
I had previously installed 11gr2 to run apex with a link to the 10.1.0.5 database. A peculiarity there was that all the
character fields became 2x as large when viewed in 11 across a link to 10. That was apparently an effect the bitness
difference. Distracting. It was the case however that entering data on the 11 side going to its real home in 10 did end up ok but it was worrying.
I have a feeling though that using we8mswin1252 is going to preclude something else from working. What is it?
I can live without apex. I might want to use jdev and/or locally developed servlets. Would there be a problem there?
(yeah I suppose this is a database question..)
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Unicode is preferable because of better support for languages. If there is such a need (now or in the future) to store characters that your current characterset cannot accommodate that may be good reason to migrate to AL32UTF8.
If I were creating a new database from scratch I would be choosing unicode charactersets such as AL32UTF8. But if you already have a database using a different characterset there will be a migration (export/import) involved instead of a possible straight upgrade in place to 11g. Also because AL32UTF8 stores characters as multibytes your existing forms / reports may need a review to see how much code change is involved. If you intend to change characterset you can try migrating a copy of your existing database to AL32UTF8 for testing.