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Former Member
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Hi All,

I would like to have a brief Understanding on Unicode.


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Answers (3)

Answers (3)

Active Contributor
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You can also check out these official SAP locations on the SAP Service Marketplace:



Former Member
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About brief idea about unicode

In the past, SAP developers used various codes to encode characters of different alphabets, for example, ASCII, EBCDI, or double-byte code pages.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) encodes each character using 1 byte = 8 bit. This makes it possible to represent a maximum of 28 = 256 characters to which the combinations [00000000, 11111111] are assigned. Common code pages are, for example, ISO88591 for West European or ISO88595 for Cyrillic fonts.

EBCDI (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange) also uses 1 byte to encode each character, which again makes it possible to represent 256 characters. EBCDIC 0697/0500 is an old IBM format that is used on AS/400 machines for West European fonts, for example.

Double-byte code pages require 1 or 2 bytes for each character. This allows you to form 216 = 65536 combinations where usually only 10,000 - 15,000 characters are used. Double-byte code pages are, for example, SJIS for Japanese and BIG5 for traditional Chinese.

Using these character sets, you can account for each language relevant to the SAP System. However, problems occur if you want to merge texts from different incompatible character sets in a central system. Equally, exchanging data between systems with incompatible character sets can result in unprecedented situations.

One solution to this problem is to use a code comprising all characters used on earth. This code is called Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646) and consists of at least 16 bit = 2 bytes, alternatively of 32 bit = 4 bytes per character. Although the conversion effort for the R/3 kernel and applications is considerable, the migration to Unicode provides great benefits in the long run:

The Internet and consequently also are entirely based on Unicode, which thus is a basic requirement for international competitiveness.

Unicode allows all R/3 users to install a central R/3 System that covers all business processes worldwide.

Companies using different distributed systems frequently want to aggregate their worldwide corporate data. Without Unicode, they would be able to do this only to a limited degree.

With Unicode, you can use multiple languages simultaneously at a single frontend computer.

Unicode is required for cross-application data exchange without loss of data due to incompatible character sets. One way to present documents in the World Wide Web (www) is XML, for example.

ABAP programs must be modified wherever an explicit or implicit assumption is made with regard to the internal length of a character. As a result, a new level of abstraction is reached which makes it possible to run one and the same program both in conventional and in Unicode systems. In addition, if new characters are added to the Unicode character set, SAP can decide whether to represent these characters internally using 2 or 4 bytes.

A Unicode-enabled ABAP program (UP) is a program in which all Unicode checks are effective. Such a program returns the same results in a non-Unicode system (NUS) as in a Unicode system (US). In order to perform the relevant syntax checks, you must activate the Unicode flag in the screens of the program and class attributes.

In a US, you can only execute programs for which the Unicode flag is set. In future, the Unicode flag must be set for all SAP programs to enable them to run on a US. If the Unicode flag is set for a program, the syntax is checked and the program executed according to the rules described in this document, regardless of whether the system is a US or an NUS. From now on, the Unicode flag must be set for all new programs and classes that are created.

If the Unicode flag is not set, a program can only be executed in an NUS. The syntactical and semantic changes described below do not apply to such programs. However, you can use all language extensions that have been introduced in the process of the conversion to Unicode.

As a result of the modifications and restrictions associated with the Unicode flag, programs are executed in both Unicode and non-Unicode systems with the same semantics to a large degree. In rare cases, however, differences may occur. Programs that are designed to run on both systems therefore need to be tested on both platforms.



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Hi Aima,

Goto SE38 with some program and Hit F1 on some keyword. In the help window opened, Check the LEFT frame. You will find a section for ABAP UNICODE. It gives a good background of what is UNICODe and few examples. Hope it helps..



Former Member
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Can you please close this post if answered?



Former Member
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Check this website.