When One Becomes Two

So your designers have constrained the input length on your application so you cannot enter more characters than the database can handle. If the developers force the string into all caps, have I got a nasty little trick for you. Ladies and gentlemen, the German eszett:

Also, the eszett or scharfes S (ß) is used. It exists only in a lowercase version since it can never occur at the beginning of a word (there are a few loan words starting with an s followed by a z (e.g. Szegediner Krautfleisch but that is not the same as the eszett which counts as one letter).

In all caps it is converted to SS….

There’s a new unicode symbol for the capital version, but a lot of old applications will still force that into an SS. So a word like confuße might get uppercased to CONFUSSE, and if you set the string to the maxlength, uppercasing it will blow that up.

To be honest, I did discover this when I was working on an application for a German customer and I (and only I of a team of far more seasoned QA people than I at the time) sought out the German alphabet to learn its vagaries.

I just ruined a little of my mystique, didn’t I?

However, if your application might possibly be localized to German, you have my permission to use this. Use this new power only for good. Strangely, though, QA good means evil to everyone else, but that’s not our fault.

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