Virtual attribute of the ActiveRecord is not handled as databse attribute

I have read about virtual attributes and I had this great idea to add such attribute to my active record class to do conversion between the UTF16 database field and between UTF8 GUI field. At the result I was stuck with the problem
So, essentially this means that I can define virtual attribute, but this attribute is not handled along other attributes that are coming from database. I.e. virtual attributes do not participate getAttributes, attributes function, they do not participate in json encoding and decoding. I.e. those fields can be accessed programmatically but they are not accesse automatically by the whole infrastructure of Yii.

So, I am starting to think that such low profile of virtual attributes is by design and actually I must not expected anything more from them.

Just wanted check whether my sad conclusion is true and whether I am required to hand-code all the infrastructure activities (getAttributes, json encoding) by hand?

You are correct.