suggestions for strategy on dealing with plain text in potentially any (unspecified) encoding?

From: Ben Dougall (
Date: Sat May 10 2003 - 05:56:08 EDT

  • Next message: Maurice Bauhahn: "RE: suggestions for strategy on dealing with plain text in potentially any (unspecified) encoding?"

    this is about all text encodings including unicode and converting that
    text to unicode:

    i'm starting to make an app in mac os x. i want to give it the ability
    to take in plain text, in any encoding - at least the standard-ish ones
    in use - any language though, and convert that text to unicode. there's
    a whole array of encoding mappings already specified within os x. the
    problem is ascertaining which encoding the text being input into the
    app is in. i've found out that if there's no encoding specified in the
    text in some way, there's no sure programmatic way to do so - at least
    not confidently - you can programmatically guess, but no more. i can
    easily ascertain the preferred / main language of the user though. but
    i'm not sure how useful that is.

    the text that maybe input into my app could be from anywhere - from the
    net, wherever. plain text though (as opposed to rich / fancy text).
    this is hard for me to judge as i'm an english speaking user that
    haven't had much experience of other languages :/ (apart from a bit of
    c) so i've not really had any personal experience on how good or bad
    software is on dealing with text encoding recognition - it's very
    likely to get it right for me because i'm a default user - i use
    english text. if i was chinese say, would that be a different story?
    does a chinese user for example often get confronted with initially
    completely garbled looking text until they tell the app to use chinese
    encoding to display the text, then it becomes readable?

    i'm aware that most html, all xml and some unicode have encoding tags
    of one sort or another. it's not the already tagged text i'm asking
    about, but the untagged.

    i got this about the same kind of question from apple's site:

    > If no encoding is found then to fall back to the default C string
    > encoding. This encoding would be Mac Roman for an English system,
    > possibly something else for an Asian-localized system; the idea is to
    > have the greatest chance of correctly interpreting existing files
    > generated by previous systems, and to require the user to override for
    > anything else.

    possibly something else for an asian system? any ideas what that should
    be? and what about other localisations? and then, what about if it is
    in say ascii, then defaulting to a localisation that was not a latin
    based character set would render the ascii garbled? i don't know - i
    really can not see how to deal with this.

    anyone have any suggestions for a strategy for dealing with text that
    could be any encoding? bear in mind i will know the user's main
    language, if that helps?

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat May 10 2003 - 06:36:31 EDT