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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for the ‘UTF-16’ Category

In this day and age, web sites with delivery back-ends still have Unicode issues: at least @Woonveilig, @Medireva and @PostNL still have trouble

Posted by jpluimers on 2022/02/09

Nowadays, some 35 years after the first Unicode ideas got drafted and 30+ years after the Unicode Consortium saw the light, UTF-8 is served my more than 95% of the web as shown in yesterday’s post UTF-8 web adoption is huge, closing 100%, but only soured up since around 2006..

I mentioned this:

It means that nowadays there is a very small chance you will see mangled characters (what Japanese call mojibake) when you’re surfing the web.

Serving UTF8 does not mean no unicode problems.

Below are some issues that happened not too long ago and still happen. I have reported them to all parties involved through web-care, but no response whatsoever, and this is bad: Unicode support beyond basic ASCII for the below systems are still broken even for relatively simple non-ASCII characters based in diacritics decorating a standard ASCII character.

Yes, I know the realm of encoding and code pages is a mess, especially when handling data in multiple layers of an application stack. That’s why I wrote this post in the first place, and have a whole encoding category of blog posts plus a Mojibake subset.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Communications Development, CP850, Dark Pattern, Development, Encoding, ISO-8859, ISO8859, Mojibake, Software Development, Unicode, User Experience (ux), UTF-16, UTF-8, Windows-1252 | Leave a Comment »

C# Effective way to find any file’s Encoding – Stack Overflow

Posted by jpluimers on 2022/02/09

Note: notepad cannot correctly guess the encoding, see the “old new thing”: [Wayback] Some files come up strange in Notepad | The Old New Thing (talking about ANSI a.k.a. Windows-1252, UTF-16LE, UTF-16BE, UTF-8, UTF-7 somewith and some without BOM as Notepad does not understand all permutations)

David Cumps discovered that certain text files come up strange in Notepad. The reason is that Notepad has to edit files in a variety of encodings, and when its back against the wall, sometimes it’s forced to guess.

[Wayback] C# Effective way to find any file’s Encoding – Stack Overflow shows how to detect various byte order marks in C#.

–jeroen

Posted in ASCII, Development, Encoding, Software Development, Unicode, UTF-16, UTF-32, UTF-8, UTF16, UTF32, UTF8 | Leave a Comment »

PowerShell error in a script but not on the console: The string is missing the terminator: “.

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/09/29

The below one will fail in a script, both both work from the PowerShell prompt:

Success

Get-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File and Printer Sharing" | ForEach-Object { Write-Host $_.DisplayName ; Get-NetFirewallAddressFilter -AssociatedNetFirewallRule $_ }

Failure

Get-NetFirewallRule –DisplayGroup "File and Printer Sharing" | ForEach-Object { Write-Host $_.DisplayName ; Get-NetFirewallAddressFilter -AssociatedNetFirewallRule $_ }

The error you get this this:

At C:\bin\Show-File-and-Printer-Sharing-firewall-rules.ps1:5 char:52
+ ... -TCP-NoScope" | ForEach-Object { Write-Host $_.DisplayName ; Get-NetF ...
+                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The string is missing the terminator: ".
    + CategoryInfo          : ParserError: (:) [], ParentContainsErrorRecordException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : TerminatorExpectedAtEndOfString

Via [WayBack] script file ‘The string is missing the terminator: “.’ – Google Search, I quickly found these that stood out:

Cause and solution

Before DisplayGroup, the first line has a minus sign and the second an en-dash. You can see this via [WayBack] What Unicode character is this ?.

Apparently, when using Unicode on the console, it does not matter if you have a minus sign (-), en-dash (–), em-dash (—) or horizontal bar (―) as dash character. You can see this in [WayBack] tokenizer.cs at function [WayBack] NextToken and [WayBack] CharTraits.cs at function [WayBack] IsChar).

When saving to a non-Unicode file, it does matter, even though it does not display as garbage in the error message.

Similarly, PowerShell has support for these special characters:

    internal static class SpecialChars
    {
        // Uncommon whitespace
        internal const char NoBreakSpace = (char)0x00a0;
        internal const char NextLine = (char)0x0085;

        // Special dashes
        internal const char EnDash = (char)0x2013;
        internal const char EmDash = (char)0x2014;
        internal const char HorizontalBar = (char)0x2015;

        // Special quotes
        internal const char QuoteSingleLeft = (char)0x2018; // left single quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteSingleRight = (char)0x2019; // right single quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteSingleBase = (char)0x201a; // single low-9 quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteReversed = (char)0x201b; // single high-reversed-9 quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteDoubleLeft = (char)0x201c; // left double quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteDoubleRight = (char)0x201d; // right double quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteLowDoubleLeft = (char)0x201E; // low double left quote used in german.
    }

The easiest solution is to use minus signs everywhere.

Another solution is to save files as Unicode UTF-8 encoding (preferred) or UTF-16 encoding (which I dislike).

–jeroen

Posted in .NET, CommandLine, Development, Encoding, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development, Unicode, UTF-16, UTF-8, UTF16, UTF8 | Leave a Comment »

Delphi, decoding files to strings and finding line endings: some links, some history on Windows NT and UTF/UCS encodings

Posted by jpluimers on 2019/12/31

A while back there were a few G+ threads sprouted by David Heffernan on decoding big files into line-ending splitted strings:

Code comparison:

Python:

with open(filename, 'r', encoding='utf-16-le') as f:
  for line in f:
    pass

Delphi:

for Line in TLineReader.FromFile(filename, TEncoding.Unicode) do
  ;

This spurred some nice observations and unfounded statements on which encodings should be used, so I posted a bit of history that is included below.

Some tips and observations from the links:

  • Good old text files are not “good” with Unicode support, neither are TextFile Device Drivers; nobody has written a driver supporting a wide range of encodings as of yet.
  • Good old text files are slow as well, even with a changed SetTextBuffer
  • When using the TStreamReader, the decoding takes much more time than the actual reading, which means that [WayBack] Faster FileStream with TBufferedFileStream • DelphiABall does not help much
  • TStringList.LoadFromFile, though fast, is a memory allocation dork and has limits on string size
  • Delphi RTL code is not what it used to be: pre-Delphi Unicode RTL code is of far better quality than Delphi 2009 and up RTL code
  • Supporting various encodings is important
  • EBCDIC days: three kinds of spaces, two kinds of hyphens, multiple codepages
  • Strings are just that: strings. It’s about the encoding from/to the file that needs to be optimal.
  • When processing large files, caching only makes sense when the file fits in memory. Otherwise caching just adds overhead.
  • On Windows, if you read a big text file into memory, open the file in “sequential read” mode, to disable caching. Use the FILE_FLAG_SEQUENTIAL_SCAN flag under Windows, as stated at [WayBack] How do FILE_FLAG_SEQUENTIAL_SCAN and FILE_FLAG_RANDOM_ACCESS affect how the operating system treats my file? – The Old New Thing
  • Python string reading depends on the way you read files (ASCII or Unicode); see [WayBack] unicode – Python codecs line ending – Stack Overflow

Though TLineReader is not part of the RTL, I think it is from [WayBack] For-in Enumeration – ADUG.

Encodings in use

It doesn’t help that on the Windows Console, various encodings are used:

Good reading here is [WayBack] c++ – What unicode encoding (UTF-8, UTF-16, other) does Windows use for its Unicode data types? – Stack Overflow

Encoding history

+A. Bouchez I’m with +David Heffernan here:

At its release in 1993, Windows NT was very early in supporting Unicode. Development of Windows NT started in 1990 where they opted for UCS-2 having 2 bytes per character and had a non-required annex on UTF-1.

UTF-1 – that later evolved into UTF-8 – did not even exist at that time. Even UCS-2 was still young: it got designed in 1989. UTF-8 was outlined late 1992 and became a standard in 1993

Some references:

–jeroen

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Delphi, Development, Encoding, PowerShell, PowerShell, Python, Scripting, Software Development, The Old New Thing, Unicode, UTF-16, UTF-8, Windows Development | Leave a Comment »

UTF-8 support for single byte character sets is beta in Windows and likely breaks a lot of applications not expecting this (via Unicode in Microsoft Windows: UTF-8 – Wikipedia)

Posted by jpluimers on 2018/12/04

Uh-oh: [WayBack] Unicode in Microsoft Windows: UTF-8 – Wikipedia:

Microsoft Windows has a code page designated for UTF-8code page 65001. Prior to Windows 10 insider build 17035 (November 2017),[7] it was impossible to set the locale code page to 65001, leaving this code page only available for:

  • Explicit conversion functions such as MultiByteToWideChar
  • The Win32 console command chcp 65001 to translate stdin/out between UTF-8 and UTF-16.

This means that “narrow” functions, in particular fopen, cannot be called with UTF-8 strings, and in fact there is no way to open all possible files using fopen no matter what the locale is set to and/or what bytes are put in the string, as none of the available locales can produce all possible UTF-16 characters.

On all modern non-Windows platforms, the string passed to fopen is effectively UTF-8. This produces an incompatibility between other platforms and Windows. The normal work-around is to add Windows-specific code to convert UTF-8 to UTF-16 using MultiByteToWideChar and call the “wide” function.[8] Conversion is also needed even for Windows-specific api such as SetWindowText since many applications inherently have to use UTF-8 due to its use in file formats, internet protocols, and its ability to interoperate with raw arrays of bytes.

There were proposals to add new API to portable libraries such as Boost to do the necessary conversion, by adding new functions for opening and renaming files. These functions would pass filenames through unchanged on Unix, but translate them to UTF-16 on Windows.[9] This would allow code to be “portable”, but required just as many code changes as calling the wide functions.

With insider build 17035 and the April 2018 update (nominal build 17134) for Windows 10, a “Beta: Use Unicode UTF-8 for worldwide language support” checkbox appeared for setting the locale code page to UTF-8.[a] This allows for calling “narrow” functions, including fopen and SetWindowTextA, with UTF-8 strings. Microsoft claims this option might break some functions (a possible example is _mbsrev[10]) as they were written to assume multibyte encodings used no more than 2 bytes per character, thus until now code pages with more bytes such as GB 18030 (cp54936) and UTF-8 could not be set as the locale.[11]


  1. Jump up^ [WayBack“UTF-8 in Windows”Stack Overflow. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  2. Jump up^ [WayBack“Boost.Nowide”.
  3. Jump up^ [WayBackhttps://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/cpp/c-runtime-library/reference/strrev-wcsrev-mbsrev-mbsrev-l
  4. Jump up^ [WayBack“Code Page Identifiers (Windows)”msdn.microsoft.com.

Via [WayBack] Microsoft Windows Beta UTF-8 support for Ansi API could break things. Wiki Article of the Change… – Tommi Prami – Google+

Related, as handling encoding is hard, especially if it is changed or not your default:

–jeroen

Posted in .NET, C, C++, Delphi, Development, Encoding, GB 18030, Power User, Software Development, UTF-16, UTF-32, UTF-8, UTF16, UTF32, UTF8, Windows, Windows 10 | 2 Comments »

 
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