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Re: I'm looking for a method of converting a string's character encoding

From: Sunjoong Lee
Subject: Re: I'm looking for a method of converting a string's character encoding
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2012 07:42:29 +0900

Thanks hien-Thi, Daniel and Eli.

Eli pointed a good example; I'll say another one. In the countries, it's character encoded multibytes, like China, Japan and Korea (i.e., in CJKs), it would be a common issue to convert codeset. In Korea, a certain web page may be written by EUC-KR codeset and another by UTF-8. In Japan, Shift-JIS, EUC-JP, ISO-2022-JP and UTF-8. In China, GBK, gb18030, Big5, Big5-HKSCS and UTF-8. I mean that koreans use 2 different codesets, japanese 4, chinese 5 in the net.

It seems not to happen comparing chinese web page and korean web page with a same program but... Suppose you want to write a program monitoring web pages, the codeset converter would be need. Just in CJKs? Greeks use 3 codesets, vietnamese 2, arabs 3, and so on. It looks like that russians use many codesets like chinese.

2012/4/29 Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden>
> Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2012 20:29:22 +0200
> From: Daniel Krueger <address@hidden>
> Cc: address@hidden, Sunjoong Lee <address@hidden>
> i think there shouldn't be any transcoding of guile's strings, as
> strings are internal representation of characters, no matter how they
> are encoded. So the only time when encoding matters is when it passes
> it's `internal boundarys', i mean if you write the string to a port or
> read from a port or pass it as a string to a foreign library. For the
> ports all transcoding is available, and as said, the real
> representation of guile strings internally is as utf8, which can't be
> changed. The only additional thing i forgot about are bytevectors, if
> you convert a string to an explicit representation, but afaik there
> you also can give the encoding to use.
> Am I wrong?

You are mostly right, but only "mostly".  Experience teaches that
sometimes you need to change encoding even inside "the boundaries".
One notable example is when the original encoding was determined
incorrectly, and the application wants to "re-decode" the string, when
its external origin is no longer available.  Another example is an
application that wants to convert an encoded string into base-64 (or
similar) form -- you'll need to encode the string internally first.

These kinds of rare, but still important, use cases are the reason why
Emacs Lisp has primitives to do encoding and decoding of in-memory
strings; as much as Emacs maintainers want to get rid of the related
need to support "unibyte strings", they are not going to go away any
time soon.

IOW, Guile needs a way to represent a string encoded in something
other than UTF-8, and convert between UTF-8 and other encodings.

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