MirBSD manpage: Encode::Unicode(3p)



     Encode::Unicode -- Various Unicode Transformation Formats


         use Encode qw/encode decode/;
         $ucs2 = encode("UCS-2BE", $utf8);
         $utf8 = decode("UCS-2BE", $ucs2);


     This module implements all Character Encoding Schemes of
     Unicode that are officially documented by Unicode Consortium
     (except, of course, for UTF-8, which is a native format in

     <http://www.unicode.org/glossary/> says:
         Character Encoding Scheme A character encoding form plus
         byte serialization. There are Seven character encoding
         schemes in Unicode: UTF-8, UTF-16, UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE,
         UTF-32 (UCS-4), UTF-32BE (UCS-4BE) and UTF-32LE
         (UCS-4LE), and UTF-7.

         Since UTF-7 is a 7-bit (re)encoded version of UTF-16BE,
         It is not part of Unicode's Character Encoding Scheme.
         It is separately implemented in Encode::Unicode::UTF7.
         For details see Encode::Unicode::UTF7.

     Quick Reference
                         Decodes from ord(N)           Encodes chr(N) to...
                octet/char BOM S.P d800-dfff  ord > 0xffff     \x{1abcd} ==
           UCS-2BE       2   N   N  is bogus                  Not Available
           UCS-2LE       2   N   N     bogus                  Not Available
           UTF-16      2/4   Y   Y  is   S.P           S.P            BE/LE
           UTF-16BE    2/4   N   Y       S.P           S.P    0xd82a,0xdfcd
           UTF-16LE      2   N   Y       S.P           S.P    0x2ad8,0xcddf
           UTF-32        4   Y   -  is bogus         As is            BE/LE
           UTF-32BE      4   N   -     bogus         As is       0x0001abcd
           UTF-32LE      4   N   -     bogus         As is       0xcdab0100
           UTF-8       1-4   -   -     bogus   >= 4 octets   \xf0\x9a\af\8d

Size, Endianness, and BOM
     You can categorize these CES by 3 criteria:  size of each
     character, endianness, and Byte Order Mark.

     by size

     UCS-2 is a fixed-length encoding with each character taking
     16 bits. It does not support surrogate pairs.  When a surro-
     gate pair is encountered during decode(), its place is
     filled with \x{FFFD} if CHECK is 0, or the routine croaks if
     CHECK is 1.  When a character whose ord value is larger than

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     0xFFFF is encountered, its place is filled with \x{FFFD} if
     CHECK is 0, or the routine croaks if CHECK is 1.

     UTF-16 is almost the same as UCS-2 but it supports surrogate
     pairs. When it encounters a high surrogate (0xD800-0xDBFF),
     it fetches the following low surrogate (0xDC00-0xDFFF) and
     "desurrogate"s them to form a character.  Bogus surrogates
     result in death.  When \x{10000} or above is encountered
     during encode(), it "ensurrogate"s them and pushes the sur-
     rogate pair to the output stream.

     UTF-32 (UCS-4) is a fixed-length encoding with each charac-
     ter taking 32 bits. Since it is 32-bit, there is no need for
     surrogate pairs.

     by endianness

     The first (and now failed) goal of Unicode was to map all
     character repertoires into a fixed-length integer so that
     programmers are happy. Since each character is either a
     short or long in C, you have to pay attention to the endian-
     ness of each platform when you pass data to one another.

     Anything marked as BE is Big Endian (or network byte order)
     and LE is Little Endian (aka VAX byte order).  For anything
     not marked either BE or LE, a character called Byte Order
     Mark (BOM) indicating the endianness is prepended to the

     CAVEAT: Though BOM in utf8 (\xEF\xBB\xBF) is valid, it is
     meaningless and as of this writing Encode suite just leave
     it as is (\x{FeFF}).

     BOM as integer when fetched in network byte order
                       16         32 bits/char
           BE      0xFeFF 0x0000FeFF
           LE      0xFFeF 0xFFFe0000

     This modules handles the BOM as follows.

     +   When BE or LE is explicitly stated as the name of encod-
         ing, BOM is simply treated as a normal character (ZERO

     +   When BE or LE is omitted during decode(), it checks if
         BOM is at the beginning of the string; if one is found,
         the endianness is set to what the BOM says.  If no BOM
         is found, the routine dies.

     +   When BE or LE is omitted during encode(), it returns a

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         BE-encoded string with BOM prepended.  So when you want
         to encode a whole text file, make sure you encode() the
         whole text at once, not line by line or each line, not
         file, will have a BOM prepended.

     +   "UCS-2" is an exception.  Unlike others, this is an
         alias of UCS-2BE. UCS-2 is already registered by IANA
         and others that way.

Surrogate Pairs

     To say the least, surrogate pairs were the biggest mistake
     of the Unicode Consortium.  But according to the late Doug-
     las Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy,
     "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a
     lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad
     move".  Their mistake was not of this magnitude so let's
     forgive them.

     (I don't dare make any comparison with Unicode Consortium
     and the Vogons here ;)  Or, comparing Encode to Babel Fish
     is completely appropriate -- if you can only stick this into
     your ear :)

     Surrogate pairs were born when the Unicode Consortium
     finally admitted that 16 bits were not big enough to hold
     all the world's character repertoires.  But they already
     made UCS-2 16-bit.  What do we do?

     Back then, the range 0xD800-0xDFFF was not allocated.  Let's
     split that range in half and use the first half to represent
     the "upper half of a character" and the second half to
     represent the "lower half of a character".  That way, you
     can represent 1024 * 1024 = 1048576 more characters.  Now we
     can store character ranges up to \x{10ffff} even with 16-bit
     encodings.  This pair of half-character is now called a sur-
     rogate pair and UTF-16 is the name of the encoding that
     embraces them.

     Here is a formula to ensurrogate a Unicode character
     \x{10000} and above;

       $hi = ($uni - 0x10000) / 0x400 + 0xD800;
       $lo = ($uni - 0x10000) % 0x400 + 0xDC00;

     And to desurrogate;

      $uni = 0x10000 + ($hi - 0xD800) * 0x400 + ($lo - 0xDC00);

     Note this move has made \x{D800}-\x{DFFF} into a forbidden
     zone but perl does not prohibit the use of characters within
     this range.  To perl, every one of \x{0000_0000} up to
     \x{ffff_ffff} (*) is a character.

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       (*) or \x{ffff_ffff_ffff_ffff} if your perl is compiled with 64-bit
       integer support!

Error Checking

     Unlike most encodings which accept various ways to handle
     errors, Unicode encodings simply croaks.

       % perl -MEncode -e '$_ = "\xfe\xff\xd8\xd9\xda\xdb\0\n"' \
              -e 'Encode::from_to($_, "utf16","shift_jis", 0); print'
       UTF-16:Malformed LO surrogate d8d9 at /path/to/Encode.pm line 184.
       % perl -MEncode -e '$a = "BOM missing"' \
              -e ' Encode::from_to($a, "utf16", "shift_jis", 0); print'
       UTF-16:Unrecognised BOM 424f at /path/to/Encode.pm line 184.

     Unlike other encodings where mappings are not one-to-one
     against Unicode, UTFs are supposed to map 100% against one
     another.  So Encode is more strict on UTFs.

     Consider that "division by zero" of Encode :)


     Encode, Encode::Unicode::UTF7,

     RFC 2781 <http://rfc.net/rfc2781.html>,

     The whole Unicode standard

     Ch. 15, pp. 403 of "Programming Perl (3rd Edition)" by Larry
     Wall, Tom Christiansen, Jon Orwant; O'Reilly & Associates;
     ISBN 0-596-00027-8

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