ActiveState Perl DBI::ODBC Unicode Error

Using Perl on Windows I’m probably out begging for problems. Using 32-bit Perl on 64-bit Windows I probably deserve it. Reality however does have some needs that go above theoretical best practices.

Recently I ran into a problem with DBI::ODBC that I newly installed with Perl 5.16 on Windows Server 2008 (64 bit). Since Perl for ISAPI only works in 32 bit mode with IIS I naturally ran the 32 bit version of Perl.

All Perl-scripts where moved from our old 32-bit Perl 5.10 Windows Server 2003. They all worked great with one major exception: DBI::ODBC. We kept getting an unexpected encoding (unicode) from all our calls done by ODBC. Fortunately for us someone else had allready run into this problem.

It turns out that as of DBI::ODBC version 1.29 there was added support for unicode that “broke” expected response if one where not using unicode. After some digging into the problem with suggestions to rebuild DBI::ODBC (that I don’t even know how to do on Windows under ActiveState Perl) or encode/decode every variable I finally found what I thought was the easiest solution.

After each connection established with DBI::ODBC driver I added the flag “odbc_old_unicode” and set it to true. This makes all the subsequent calls act as they did before unicode support was added!

$dbh->{'odbc_old_unicode'} = 1;

Now I just need to find every occurence where a connection is established with ODBC in my Perl scripts… which reminds me that I am on a Windows platform and don’t have access to the “grep” command!

Note: after some digging (since I do not want to install any third party software on the servers) I found the FINDSTR command which was quite handy!