Selecting the Sort Order

Different languages sort the same characters differently. SAP ASE uses sort orders to create indexes, store date into indexed tables, and specify an order by clause.

For example, in English, Cho is sorted before Co, whereas in Spanish, the opposite is true. In German, β is a single character, however in dictionaries it is treated as the double character ss and sorted accordingly. Accented characters are sorted in a particular order so that aménité comes before amène, whereas if you ignored the accents, the reverse would be true. Therefore, language-specific sort orders are required so that characters are sorted correctly.

Each character set comes with one or more sort orders that SAP ASE uses to collate data. A sort order is tied to a particular language or set of languages and to a specific character set. The same sort orders can be used for English, French, and German because they sort the same characters identically, for example, A, a, B, b, and so on. Or the characters are specific to one of the languages—for example, the accented characters, é , à, and á, are used in French but not in English or German—and therefore, there is no conflict in how those characters are sorted. The same is not true for Spanish however, where the double letters ch and ll are sorted differently. Therefore, although the same character sets support all four languages, there is one set of sort orders for English, French and German, and a different set of sort orders for Spanish.

In addition, a sort order is tied to a particular character set. Therefore, there is one set of sort orders for English, French, and German in the ISO 8859-1 character set, another set in the CP 850 character set, and so on. The sort orders available for a particular character set are located in sort order definition files (*.srt files) in the character set directory.