Recently a fellow database architect claimed that in Oracle the typeVARCHAR2(255)means a string of 255bytes, not characters. There is not much difference between the two in the English-speaking world. It matters though if you want to handle people with names like Kołłątaj . (Not that Hugo Kołłątaj – a famous Polish 18th century politician – would ever use any of our systems, but he became our byword for all non-pure-ASCII names). I was very surprised by what the architect said and I decided to further investigate the matter.