Converting the Fulcrum Search Engine to Unicode

Andrew Hodgson - Lyricom Consulting

Intended Audience: Manager, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst
Session Level: Intermediate

The Fulcrum search engine is used in a variety of products now sold by Hummingbird inc. These products are aimed at providing Enterprise wide access to information. This information can be in many formats: documents, e-mail, databases, web sites etc and in a multinational corporation that data may exist in many languages and character encodings.

By converting the core search engine to Unicode Fulcrum has been able to consolidate several product releases, and deliver a flexible engine capable of storing and indexing European and Asian languages in a single collection.

In order to move a legacy system to Unicode, Fulcrum had to work out how to do the development work incrimentally, in the midst of other feature development and releases, determine where to use UTF-16 and where to use UTF-8, and consider all the ramifications of providing a Unicode information hub which would be able to service users on systems which might still be using old "code-page" technology.

The paper ends with a presentation of the language and character-set capabilities achieved so far.

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24 October 1999, Webmaster