Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome to Switzerland! Choose your database territory wisely...

One of the many international aspects of living in the Lake Constance region is that you encounter Swiss, Austrian, and German people, and even those from Lichtenstein on a daily basis. Language (mostly the dialect) is the most obvious differentiator in direct contact as well as a license plate on car. Sometimes, there are also the small and funny struggles with technology which show country-specific preferences.

Depending on the weather, it often happens that you walk in downtown Friedrichshafen and suddenly receive a text message "Welcome to Switzerland!" and your mobile phone started roaming using a Swiss mobile phone company instead of your German mobile provider. Similary, depending on the weather again, you can easily pick up a German provider along the Swiss shore or in Romanshorn waiting for a ferry to Germany. Always make sure that your phone has the right provider, else it will be expensive even receiving a call.

Then, there also funny annoyances like Google Maps. It is showing the Swiss-German border in a very liberal way. The German Reichenau island is, according to Google, Swiss territory. Fortunately, the borderline is clear to everyone and the countries are cooperating and helping each other across the lake.

When working with a database system like DB2, you also have to select the territory, codepage and collation for a database. You could have German, Swiss, Austrian (though no Lichtensteinian) databases side by side in a single DB2 instance. One thing you cannot do is to change the territory as we can do on the mobile phone when picking our home provider. So it would continue to say "Welcome to Switzerland!"

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