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4 easy steps to make Mason utf-8 Unicode clean with Apache, mod_perl, and DBI

This is a note for people who are using the Mason system for high-performance, dynamic web site authoring with Apache, mod_perl, and a relational database like PostgreSQL accessed through DBI, and who want to be utf-8 Unicode clean in all their data.

You want to be able to write accented letters in any language in your web pages. You want your users to be able to enter any characters in web forms, and you want that data to get in and out of your relational database and still display correctly and be handled correctly by perl.

That is, unfortunately, not how it works out of the box, at least not on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or on Fedora 10. This article shows how we made it work right.