MySQL’s UTF-8 charset doesn’t fully support Unicode

Insightful and detailed article by the fantastic Mathias Bynens on how to guarantee your MySQL database will accept any unicode character you throw at it.

“For a long time, I was using MySQL’s utf8 charset for databases, tables, and columns, assuming it mapped to the UTF-8 encoding… By using utf8, I’d be able to store any symbol I want in my database — or so I thought.”

—execerpted from How to support full Unicode in MySQL databases, by Mathias Bynens.

Dynamic Weather with NOAA, PHP, jQuery, and HTML templates

One of our aims with our new alumnae/i site was to give alums who may be far away a chance to reconnect with the campus they know and love. Of course we have the usual imagery, stories, social networking, etc. but there was one feature—weather—that could evoke the moment, in real-time on campus.

In order to make that connection as immediate and palpable as possible, we couldn’t allow the weather to cache, or only update on page load. All it took was some jQuery and HTML templates added to our existing PHP script which was already pulling an XML feed from NOAA. Read on to see how we did it…