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PERLUNIINTRO(1) 		 Perl Programmers Reference Guide		  PERLUNIINTRO(1)

NAME
       perluniintro - Perl Unicode introduction

DESCRIPTION
       This document gives a general idea of Unicode and how to use Unicode in Perl.  See
       "Further Resources" for references to more in-depth treatments of Unicode.

   Unicode
       Unicode is a character set standard which plans to codify all of the writing systems of
       the world, plus many other symbols.

       Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 are coordinated standards that unify almost all other modern
       character set standards, covering more than 80 writing systems and hundreds of languages,
       including all commercially-important modern languages.  All characters in the largest
       Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dictionaries are also encoded. The standards will eventually
       cover almost all characters in more than 250 writing systems and thousands of languages.
       Unicode 1.0 was released in October 1991, and 6.0 in October 2010.

       A Unicode character is an abstract entity.  It is not bound to any particular integer
       width, especially not to the C language "char".	Unicode is language-neutral and display-
       neutral: it does not encode the language of the text, and it does not generally define
       fonts or other graphical layout details.  Unicode operates on characters and on text built
       from those characters.

       Unicode defines characters like "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A" or "GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA" and
       unique numbers for the characters, in this case 0x0041 and 0x03B1, respectively.  These
       unique numbers are called code points.  A code point is essentially the position of the
       character within the set of all possible Unicode characters, and thus in Perl, the term
       ordinal is often used interchangeably with it.

       The Unicode standard prefers using hexadecimal notation for the code points.  If numbers
       like 0x0041 are unfamiliar to you, take a peek at a later section, "Hexadecimal Notation".
       The Unicode standard uses the notation "U+0041 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A", to give the
       hexadecimal code point and the normative name of the character.

       Unicode also defines various properties for the characters, like "uppercase" or
       "lowercase", "decimal digit", or "punctuation"; these properties are independent of the
       names of the characters.  Furthermore, various operations on the characters like
       uppercasing, lowercasing, and collating (sorting) are defined.

       A Unicode logical "character" can actually consist of more than one internal actual
       "character" or code point.  For Western languages, this is adequately modelled by a base
       character (like "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A") followed by one or more modifiers (like
       "COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT").  This sequence of base character and modifiers is called a
       combining character sequence.  Some non-western languages require more complicated models,
       so Unicode created the grapheme cluster concept, which was later further refined into the
       extended grapheme cluster.  For example, a Korean Hangul syllable is considered a single
       logical character, but most often consists of three actual Unicode characters: a leading
       consonant followed by an interior vowel followed by a trailing consonant.

       Whether to call these extended grapheme clusters "characters" depends on your point of
       view. If you are a programmer, you probably would tend towards seeing each element in the
       sequences as one unit, or "character".  However from the user's point of view, the whole
       sequence could be seen as one "character" since that's probably what it looks like in the
       context of the user's language.	In this document, we take the programmer's point of view:
       one "character" is one Unicode code point.

       For some combinations of base character and modifiers, there are precomposed characters.
       There is a single character equivalent, for example, to the sequence "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER
       A" followed by "COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT".  It is called  "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH
       ACUTE".	These precomposed characters are, however, only available for some combinations,
       and are mainly meant to support round-trip conversions between Unicode and legacy
       standards (like ISO 8859).  Using sequences, as Unicode does, allows for needing fewer
       basic building blocks (code points) to express many more potential grapheme clusters.  To
       support conversion between equivalent forms, various normalization forms are also defined.
       Thus, "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH ACUTE" is in Normalization Form Composed, (abbreviated
       NFC), and the sequence "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A" followed by "COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT"
       represents the same character in Normalization Form Decomposed (NFD).

       Because of backward compatibility with legacy encodings, the "a unique number for every
       character" idea breaks down a bit: instead, there is "at least one number for every
       character".  The same character could be represented differently in several legacy
       encodings.  The converse is not also true: some code points do not have an assigned
       character.  Firstly, there are unallocated code points within otherwise used blocks.
       Secondly, there are special Unicode control characters that do not represent true
       characters.

       When Unicode was first conceived, it was thought that all the world's characters could be
       represented using a 16-bit word; that is a maximum of 0x10000 (or 65536) characters from
       0x0000 to 0xFFFF would be needed.  This soon proved to be false, and since Unicode 2.0
       (July 1996), Unicode has been defined all the way up to 21 bits(0x10FFFF), and Unicode
       3.1 (March 2001) defined the first characters above 0xFFFF.  The first 0x10000 characters
       are called the Plane 0, or the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP).  With Unicode 3.1, 17 (yes,
       seventeen) planes in all were defined--but they are nowhere near full of defined
       characters, yet.

       When a new language is being encoded, Unicode generally will choose a "block" of
       consecutive unallocated code points for its characters.	So far, the number of code points
       in these blocks has always been evenly divisible by 16.	Extras in a block, not currently
       needed, are left unallocated, for future growth.  But there have been occasions when a
       later relase needed more code points than the available extras, and a new block had to
       allocated somewhere else, not contiguous to the initial one, to handle the overflow.
       Thus, it became apparent early on that "block" wasn't an adequate organizing principal,
       and so the "Script" property was created.  (Later an improved script property was added as
       well, the "Script_Extensions" property.)  Those code points that are in overflow blocks
       can still have the same script as the original ones.  The script concept fits more closely
       with natural language: there is "Latin" script, "Greek" script, and so on; and there are
       several artificial scripts, like "Common" for characters that are used in multiple
       scripts, such as mathematical symbols.  Scripts usually span varied parts of several
       blocks.	For more information about scripts, see "Scripts" in perlunicode.  The division
       into blocks exists, but it is almost completely accidental--an artifact of how the
       characters have been and still are allocated.  (Note that this paragraph has
       oversimplified things for the sake of this being an introduction.  Unicode doesn't really
       encode languages, but the writing systems for them--their scripts; and one script can be
       used by many languages.	Unicode also encodes things that aren't really about languages,
       such as symbols like "BAGGAGE CLAIM".)

       The Unicode code points are just abstract numbers.  To input and output these abstract
       numbers, the numbers must be encoded or serialised somehow.  Unicode defines several
       character encoding forms, of which UTF-8 is perhaps the most popular.  UTF-8 is a variable
       length encoding that encodes Unicode characters as 1 to 6 bytes.  Other encodings include
       UTF-16 and UTF-32 and their big- and little-endian variants (UTF-8 is byte-order
       independent) The ISO/IEC 10646 defines the UCS-2 and UCS-4 encoding forms.

       For more information about encodings--for instance, to learn what surrogates and byte
       order marks (BOMs) are--see perlunicode.

   Perl's Unicode Support
       Starting from Perl 5.6.0, Perl has had the capacity to handle Unicode natively.	Perl
       5.8.0, however, is the first recommended release for serious Unicode work.  The
       maintenance release 5.6.1 fixed many of the problems of the initial Unicode
       implementation, but for example regular expressions still do not work with Unicode in
       5.6.1.  Perl 5.14.0 is the first release where Unicode support is (almost) seamlessly
       integrable without some gotchas (the exception being some differences in quotemeta, which
       is fixed starting in Perl 5.16.0).   To enable this seamless support, you should "use
       feature 'unicode_strings'" (which is automatically selected if you "use 5.012" or higher).
       See feature.  (5.14 also fixes a number of bugs and departures from the Unicode standard.)

       Before Perl 5.8.0, the use of "use utf8" was used to declare that operations in the
       current block or file would be Unicode-aware.  This model was found to be wrong, or at
       least clumsy: the "Unicodeness" is now carried with the data, instead of being attached to
       the operations.	Starting with Perl 5.8.0, only one case remains where an explicit "use
       utf8" is needed: if your Perl script itself is encoded in UTF-8, you can use UTF-8 in your
       identifier names, and in string and regular expression literals, by saying "use utf8".
       This is not the default because scripts with legacy 8-bit data in them would break.  See
       utf8.

   Perl's Unicode Model
       Perl supports both pre-5.6 strings of eight-bit native bytes, and strings of Unicode
       characters.  The general principle is that Perl tries to keep its data as eight-bit bytes
       for as long as possible, but as soon as Unicodeness cannot be avoided, the data is
       transparently upgraded to Unicode.  Prior to Perl 5.14, the upgrade was not completely
       transparent (see "The "Unicode Bug"" in perlunicode), and for backwards compatibility,
       full transparency is not gained unless "use feature 'unicode_strings'" (see feature) or
       "use 5.012" (or higher) is selected.

       Internally, Perl currently uses either whatever the native eight-bit character set of the
       platform (for example Latin-1) is, defaulting to UTF-8, to encode Unicode strings.
       Specifically, if all code points in the string are 0xFF or less, Perl uses the native
       eight-bit character set.  Otherwise, it uses UTF-8.

       A user of Perl does not normally need to know nor care how Perl happens to encode its
       internal strings, but it becomes relevant when outputting Unicode strings to a stream
       without a PerlIO layer (one with the "default" encoding).  In such a case, the raw bytes
       used internally (the native character set or UTF-8, as appropriate for each string) will
       be used, and a "Wide character" warning will be issued if those strings contain a
       character beyond 0x00FF.

       For example,

	     perl -e 'print "\x{DF}\n", "\x{0100}\x{DF}\n"'

       produces a fairly useless mixture of native bytes and UTF-8, as well as a warning:

	    Wide character in print at ...

       To output UTF-8, use the ":encoding" or ":utf8" output layer.  Prepending

	     binmode(STDOUT, ":utf8");

       to this sample program ensures that the output is completely UTF-8, and removes the
       program's warning.

       You can enable automatic UTF-8-ification of your standard file handles, default "open()"
       layer, and @ARGV by using either the "-C" command line switch or the "PERL_UNICODE"
       environment variable, see perlrun for the documentation of the "-C" switch.

       Note that this means that Perl expects other software to work the same way: if Perl has
       been led to believe that STDIN should be UTF-8, but then STDIN coming in from another
       command is not UTF-8, Perl will likely complain about the malformed UTF-8.

       All features that combine Unicode and I/O also require using the new PerlIO feature.
       Almost all Perl 5.8 platforms do use PerlIO, though: you can see whether yours is by
       running "perl -V" and looking for "useperlio=define".

   Unicode and EBCDIC
       Perl 5.8.0 also supports Unicode on EBCDIC platforms.  There, Unicode support is somewhat
       more complex to implement since additional conversions are needed at every step.

       Later Perl releases have added code that will not work on EBCDIC platforms, and no one has
       complained, so the divergence has continued.  If you want to run Perl on an EBCDIC
       platform, send email to perlbug@perl.org

       On EBCDIC platforms, the internal Unicode encoding form is UTF-EBCDIC instead of UTF-8.
       The difference is that as UTF-8 is "ASCII-safe" in that ASCII characters encode to UTF-8
       as-is, while UTF-EBCDIC is "EBCDIC-safe".

   Creating Unicode
       To create Unicode characters in literals for code points above 0xFF, use the "\x{...}"
       notation in double-quoted strings:

	   my $smiley = "\x{263a}";

       Similarly, it can be used in regular expression literals

	   $smiley =~ /\x{263a}/;

       At run-time you can use "chr()":

	   my $hebrew_alef = chr(0x05d0);

       See "Further Resources" for how to find all these numeric codes.

       Naturally, "ord()" will do the reverse: it turns a character into a code point.

       Note that "\x.." (no "{}" and only two hexadecimal digits), "\x{...}", and "chr(...)" for
       arguments less than 0x100 (decimal 256) generate an eight-bit character for backward
       compatibility with older Perls.	For arguments of 0x100 or more, Unicode characters are
       always produced. If you want to force the production of Unicode characters regardless of
       the numeric value, use "pack("U", ...)"	instead of "\x..", "\x{...}", or "chr()".

       You can invoke characters by name in double-quoted strings:

	   my $arabic_alef = "\N{ARABIC LETTER ALEF}";

       And, as mentioned above, you can also "pack()" numbers into Unicode characters:

	  my $georgian_an  = pack("U", 0x10a0);

       Note that both "\x{...}" and "\N{...}" are compile-time string constants: you cannot use
       variables in them.  if you want similar run-time functionality, use "chr()" and
       "charnames::string_vianame()".

       If you want to force the result to Unicode characters, use the special "U0" prefix.  It
       consumes no arguments but causes the following bytes to be interpreted as the UTF-8
       encoding of Unicode characters:

	  my $chars = pack("U0W*", 0x80, 0x42);

       Likewise, you can stop such UTF-8 interpretation by using the special "C0" prefix.

   Handling Unicode
       Handling Unicode is for the most part transparent: just use the strings as usual.
       Functions like "index()", "length()", and "substr()" will work on the Unicode characters;
       regular expressions will work on the Unicode characters (see perlunicode and perlretut).

       Note that Perl considers grapheme clusters to be separate characters, so for example

	print length("\N{LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A}\N{COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT}"),
	      "\n";

       will print 2, not 1.  The only exception is that regular expressions have "\X" for
       matching an extended grapheme cluster.  (Thus "\X" in a regular expression would match the
       entire sequence of both the example characters.)

       Life is not quite so transparent, however, when working with legacy encodings, I/O, and
       certain special cases:

   Legacy Encodings
       When you combine legacy data and Unicode, the legacy data needs to be upgraded to Unicode.
       Normally the legacy data is assumed to be ISO 8859-1 (or EBCDIC, if applicable).

       The "Encode" module knows about many encodings and has interfaces for doing conversions
       between those encodings:

	   use Encode 'decode';
	   $data = decode("iso-8859-3", $data); # convert from legacy to utf-8

   Unicode I/O
       Normally, writing out Unicode data

	   print FH $some_string_with_unicode, "\n";

       produces raw bytes that Perl happens to use to internally encode the Unicode string.
       Perl's internal encoding depends on the system as well as what characters happen to be in
       the string at the time. If any of the characters are at code points 0x100 or above, you
       will get a warning.  To ensure that the output is explicitly rendered in the encoding you
       desire--and to avoid the warning--open the stream with the desired encoding. Some
       examples:

	   open FH, ">:utf8", "file";

	   open FH, ">:encoding(ucs2)",      "file";
	   open FH, ">:encoding(UTF-8)",     "file";
	   open FH, ">:encoding(shift_jis)", "file";

       and on already open streams, use "binmode()":

	   binmode(STDOUT, ":utf8");

	   binmode(STDOUT, ":encoding(ucs2)");
	   binmode(STDOUT, ":encoding(UTF-8)");
	   binmode(STDOUT, ":encoding(shift_jis)");

       The matching of encoding names is loose: case does not matter, and many encodings have
       several aliases.  Note that the ":utf8" layer must always be specified exactly like that;
       it is not subject to the loose matching of encoding names. Also note that currently
       ":utf8" is unsafe for input, because it accepts the data without validating that it is
       indeed valid UTF-8; you should instead use ":encoding(utf-8)" (with or without a hyphen).

       See PerlIO for the ":utf8" layer, PerlIO::encoding and Encode::PerlIO for the
       ":encoding()" layer, and Encode::Supported for many encodings supported by the "Encode"
       module.

       Reading in a file that you know happens to be encoded in one of the Unicode or legacy
       encodings does not magically turn the data into Unicode in Perl's eyes.	To do that,
       specify the appropriate layer when opening files

	   open(my $fh,'<:encoding(utf8)', 'anything');
	   my $line_of_unicode = <$fh>;

	   open(my $fh,'<:encoding(Big5)', 'anything');
	   my $line_of_unicode = <$fh>;

       The I/O layers can also be specified more flexibly with the "open" pragma.  See open, or
       look at the following example.

	   use open ':encoding(utf8)'; # input/output default encoding will be
				       # UTF-8
	   open X, ">file";
	   print X chr(0x100), "\n";
	   close X;
	   open Y, "<file";
	   printf "%#x\n", ord(<Y>); # this should print 0x100
	   close Y;

       With the "open" pragma you can use the ":locale" layer

	   BEGIN { $ENV{LC_ALL} = $ENV{LANG} = 'ru_RU.KOI8-R' }
	   # the :locale will probe the locale environment variables like
	   # LC_ALL
	   use open OUT => ':locale'; # russki parusski
	   open(O, ">koi8");
	   print O chr(0x430); # Unicode CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER A = KOI8-R 0xc1
	   close O;
	   open(I, "<koi8");
	   printf "%#x\n", ord(<I>), "\n"; # this should print 0xc1
	   close I;

       These methods install a transparent filter on the I/O stream that converts data from the
       specified encoding when it is read in from the stream.  The result is always Unicode.

       The open pragma affects all the "open()" calls after the pragma by setting default layers.
       If you want to affect only certain streams, use explicit layers directly in the "open()"
       call.

       You can switch encodings on an already opened stream by using "binmode()"; see "binmode"
       in perlfunc.

       The ":locale" does not currently (as of Perl 5.8.0) work with "open()" and "binmode()",
       only with the "open" pragma.  The ":utf8" and ":encoding(...)" methods do work with all of
       "open()", "binmode()", and the "open" pragma.

       Similarly, you may use these I/O layers on output streams to automatically convert Unicode
       to the specified encoding when it is written to the stream. For example, the following
       snippet copies the contents of the file "text.jis" (encoded as ISO-2022-JP, aka JIS) to
       the file "text.utf8", encoded as UTF-8:

	   open(my $nihongo, '<:encoding(iso-2022-jp)', 'text.jis');
	   open(my $unicode, '>:utf8',			'text.utf8');
	   while (<$nihongo>) { print $unicode $_ }

       The naming of encodings, both by the "open()" and by the "open" pragma allows for flexible
       names: "koi8-r" and "KOI8R" will both be understood.

       Common encodings recognized by ISO, MIME, IANA, and various other standardisation
       organisations are recognised; for a more detailed list see Encode::Supported.

       "read()" reads characters and returns the number of characters.	"seek()" and "tell()"
       operate on byte counts, as do "sysread()" and "sysseek()".

       Notice that because of the default behaviour of not doing any conversion upon input if
       there is no default layer, it is easy to mistakenly write code that keeps on expanding a
       file by repeatedly encoding the data:

	   # BAD CODE WARNING
	   open F, "file";
	   local $/; ## read in the whole file of 8-bit characters
	   $t = <F>;
	   close F;
	   open F, ">:encoding(utf8)", "file";
	   print F $t; ## convert to UTF-8 on output
	   close F;

       If you run this code twice, the contents of the file will be twice UTF-8 encoded.  A "use
       open ':encoding(utf8)'" would have avoided the bug, or explicitly opening also the file
       for input as UTF-8.

       NOTE: the ":utf8" and ":encoding" features work only if your Perl has been built with the
       new PerlIO feature (which is the default on most systems).

   Displaying Unicode As Text
       Sometimes you might want to display Perl scalars containing Unicode as simple ASCII (or
       EBCDIC) text.  The following subroutine converts its argument so that Unicode characters
       with code points greater than 255 are displayed as "\x{...}", control characters (like
       "\n") are displayed as "\x..", and the rest of the characters as themselves:

	sub nice_string {
	    join("",
	      map { $_ > 255 ?			# if wide character...
		     sprintf("\\x{%04X}", $_) :  # \x{...}
		     chr($_) =~ /[[:cntrl:]]/ ?  # else if control character...
		     sprintf("\\x%02X", $_) :	 # \x..
		     quotemeta(chr($_)) 	 # else quoted or as themselves
		} unpack("W*", $_[0])); 	  # unpack Unicode characters
	  }

       For example,

	  nice_string("foo\x{100}bar\n")

       returns the string

	  'foo\x{0100}bar\x0A'

       which is ready to be printed.

   Special Cases
       o   Bit Complement Operator ~ And vec()

	   The bit complement operator "~" may produce surprising results if used on strings
	   containing characters with ordinal values above 255. In such a case, the results are
	   consistent with the internal encoding of the characters, but not with much else. So
	   don't do that. Similarly for "vec()": you will be operating on the internally-encoded
	   bit patterns of the Unicode characters, not on the code point values, which is very
	   probably not what you want.

       o   Peeking At Perl's Internal Encoding

	   Normal users of Perl should never care how Perl encodes any particular Unicode string
	   (because the normal ways to get at the contents of a string with Unicode--via input
	   and output--should always be via explicitly-defined I/O layers). But if you must,
	   there are two ways of looking behind the scenes.

	   One way of peeking inside the internal encoding of Unicode characters is to use
	   "unpack("C*", ..." to get the bytes of whatever the string encoding happens to be, or
	   "unpack("U0..", ...)" to get the bytes of the UTF-8 encoding:

	       # this prints  c4 80  for the UTF-8 bytes 0xc4 0x80
	       print join(" ", unpack("U0(H2)*", pack("U", 0x100))), "\n";

	   Yet another way would be to use the Devel::Peek module:

	       perl -MDevel::Peek -e 'Dump(chr(0x100))'

	   That shows the "UTF8" flag in FLAGS and both the UTF-8 bytes and Unicode characters in
	   "PV".  See also later in this document the discussion about the "utf8::is_utf8()"
	   function.

   Advanced Topics
       o   String Equivalence

	   The question of string equivalence turns somewhat complicated in Unicode: what do you
	   mean by "equal"?

	   (Is "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH ACUTE" equal to "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A"?)

	   The short answer is that by default Perl compares equivalence ("eq", "ne") based only
	   on code points of the characters.  In the above case, the answer is no (because 0x00C1
	   != 0x0041).	But sometimes, any CAPITAL LETTER A's should be considered equal, or even
	   A's of any case.

	   The long answer is that you need to consider character normalization and casing
	   issues: see Unicode::Normalize, Unicode Technical Report #15, Unicode Normalization
	   Forms <http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr15> and sections on case mapping in
	   the Unicode Standard <http://www.unicode.org>.

	   As of Perl 5.8.0, the "Full" case-folding of Case Mappings/SpecialCasing is
	   implemented, but bugs remain in "qr//i" with them, mostly fixed by 5.14.

       o   String Collation

	   People like to see their strings nicely sorted--or as Unicode parlance goes, collated.
	   But again, what do you mean by collate?

	   (Does "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH ACUTE" come before or after "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A
	   WITH GRAVE"?)

	   The short answer is that by default, Perl compares strings ("lt", "le", "cmp", "ge",
	   "gt") based only on the code points of the characters.  In the above case, the answer
	   is "after", since 0x00C1 > 0x00C0.

	   The long answer is that "it depends", and a good answer cannot be given without
	   knowing (at the very least) the language context.  See Unicode::Collate, and Unicode
	   Collation Algorithm <http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr10/>

   Miscellaneous
       o   Character Ranges and Classes

	   Character ranges in regular expression bracketed character classes ( e.g., "/[a-z]/")
	   and in the "tr///" (also known as "y///") operator are not magically Unicode-aware.
	   What this means is that "[A-Za-z]" will not magically start to mean "all alphabetic
	   letters" (not that it does mean that even for 8-bit characters; for those, if you are
	   using locales (perllocale), use "/[[:alpha:]]/"; and if not, use the 8-bit-aware
	   property "\p{alpha}").

	   All the properties that begin with "\p" (and its inverse "\P") are actually character
	   classes that are Unicode-aware.  There are dozens of them, see perluniprops.

	   You can use Unicode code points as the end points of character ranges, and the range
	   will include all Unicode code points that lie between those end points.

       o   String-To-Number Conversions

	   Unicode does define several other decimal--and numeric--characters besides the
	   familiar 0 to 9, such as the Arabic and Indic digits.  Perl does not support string-
	   to-number conversion for digits other than ASCII 0 to 9 (and ASCII a to f for
	   hexadecimal).  To get safe conversions from any Unicode string, use "num()" in
	   Unicode::UCD.

   Questions With Answers
       o   Will My Old Scripts Break?

	   Very probably not.  Unless you are generating Unicode characters somehow, old
	   behaviour should be preserved.  About the only behaviour that has changed and which
	   could start generating Unicode is the old behaviour of "chr()" where supplying an
	   argument more than 255 produced a character modulo 255.  "chr(300)", for example, was
	   equal to "chr(45)" or "-" (in ASCII), now it is LATIN CAPITAL LETTER I WITH BREVE.

       o   How Do I Make My Scripts Work With Unicode?

	   Very little work should be needed since nothing changes until you generate Unicode
	   data.  The most important thing is getting input as Unicode; for that, see the earlier
	   I/O discussion.  To get full seamless Unicode support, add "use feature
	   'unicode_strings'" (or "use 5.012" or higher) to your script.

       o   How Do I Know Whether My String Is In Unicode?

	   You shouldn't have to care.	But you may if your Perl is before 5.14.0 or you haven't
	   specified "use feature 'unicode_strings'" or "use 5.012" (or higher) because otherwise
	   the semantics of the code points in the range 128 to 255 are different depending on
	   whether the string they are contained within is in Unicode or not.  (See "When Unicode
	   Does Not Happen" in perlunicode.)

	   To determine if a string is in Unicode, use:

	       print utf8::is_utf8($string) ? 1 : 0, "\n";

	   But note that this doesn't mean that any of the characters in the string are necessary
	   UTF-8 encoded, or that any of the characters have code points greater than 0xFF(255)
	   or even 0x80(128), or that the string has any characters at all.  All the "is_utf8()"
	   does is to return the value of the internal "utf8ness" flag attached to the $string.
	   If the flag is off, the bytes in the scalar are interpreted as a single byte encoding.
	   If the flag is on, the bytes in the scalar are interpreted as the (variable-length,
	   potentially multi-byte) UTF-8 encoded code points of the characters.  Bytes added to a
	   UTF-8 encoded string are automatically upgraded to UTF-8.  If mixed non-UTF-8 and
	   UTF-8 scalars are merged (double-quoted interpolation, explicit concatenation, or
	   printf/sprintf parameter substitution), the result will be UTF-8 encoded as if copies
	   of the byte strings were upgraded to UTF-8: for example,

	       $a = "ab\x80c";
	       $b = "\x{100}";
	       print "$a = $b\n";

	   the output string will be UTF-8-encoded "ab\x80c = \x{100}\n", but $a will stay byte-
	   encoded.

	   Sometimes you might really need to know the byte length of a string instead of the
	   character length. For that use either the "Encode::encode_utf8()" function or the
	   "bytes" pragma and the "length()" function:

	       my $unicode = chr(0x100);
	       print length($unicode), "\n"; # will print 1
	       require Encode;
	       print length(Encode::encode_utf8($unicode)),"\n"; # will print 2
	       use bytes;
	       print length($unicode), "\n"; # will also print 2
					     # (the 0xC4 0x80 of the UTF-8)
	       no bytes;

       o   How Do I Find Out What Encoding a File Has?

	   You might try Encode::Guess, but it has a number of limitations.

       o   How Do I Detect Data That's Not Valid In a Particular Encoding?

	   Use the "Encode" package to try converting it.  For example,

	       use Encode 'decode_utf8';

	       if (eval { decode_utf8($string, Encode::FB_CROAK); 1 }) {
		   # $string is valid utf8
	       } else {
		   # $string is not valid utf8
	       }

	   Or use "unpack" to try decoding it:

	       use warnings;
	       @chars = unpack("C0U*", $string_of_bytes_that_I_think_is_utf8);

	   If invalid, a "Malformed UTF-8 character" warning is produced. The "C0" means "process
	   the string character per character".  Without that, the "unpack("U*", ...)" would work
	   in "U0" mode (the default if the format string starts with "U") and it would return
	   the bytes making up the UTF-8 encoding of the target string, something that will
	   always work.

       o   How Do I Convert Binary Data Into a Particular Encoding, Or Vice Versa?

	   This probably isn't as useful as you might think.  Normally, you shouldn't need to.

	   In one sense, what you are asking doesn't make much sense: encodings are for
	   characters, and binary data are not "characters", so converting "data" into some
	   encoding isn't meaningful unless you know in what character set and encoding the
	   binary data is in, in which case it's not just binary data, now is it?

	   If you have a raw sequence of bytes that you know should be interpreted via a
	   particular encoding, you can use "Encode":

	       use Encode 'from_to';
	       from_to($data, "iso-8859-1", "utf-8"); # from latin-1 to utf-8

	   The call to "from_to()" changes the bytes in $data, but nothing material about the
	   nature of the string has changed as far as Perl is concerned.  Both before and after
	   the call, the string $data contains just a bunch of 8-bit bytes. As far as Perl is
	   concerned, the encoding of the string remains as "system-native 8-bit bytes".

	   You might relate this to a fictional 'Translate' module:

	      use Translate;
	      my $phrase = "Yes";
	      Translate::from_to($phrase, 'english', 'deutsch');
	      ## phrase now contains "Ja"

	   The contents of the string changes, but not the nature of the string.  Perl doesn't
	   know any more after the call than before that the contents of the string indicates the
	   affirmative.

	   Back to converting data.  If you have (or want) data in your system's native 8-bit
	   encoding (e.g. Latin-1, EBCDIC, etc.), you can use pack/unpack to convert to/from
	   Unicode.

	       $native_string  = pack("W*", unpack("U*", $Unicode_string));
	       $Unicode_string = pack("U*", unpack("W*", $native_string));

	   If you have a sequence of bytes you know is valid UTF-8, but Perl doesn't know it yet,
	   you can make Perl a believer, too:

	       use Encode 'decode_utf8';
	       $Unicode = decode_utf8($bytes);

	   or:

	       $Unicode = pack("U0a*", $bytes);

	   You can find the bytes that make up a UTF-8 sequence with

	       @bytes = unpack("C*", $Unicode_string)

	   and you can create well-formed Unicode with

	       $Unicode_string = pack("U*", 0xff, ...)

       o   How Do I Display Unicode?  How Do I Input Unicode?

	   See <http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/> and
	   <http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/unicode.html>

       o   How Does Unicode Work With Traditional Locales?

	   Starting in Perl 5.16, you can specify

	       use locale ':not_characters';

	   to get Perl to work well with tradtional locales.  The catch is that you have to
	   translate from the locale character set to/from Unicode yourself.  See "Unicode I/O"
	   above for how to

	       use open ':locale';

	   to accomplish this, but full details are in "Unicode and UTF-8" in perllocale,
	   including gotchas that happen if you don't specifiy ":not_characters".

   Hexadecimal Notation
       The Unicode standard prefers using hexadecimal notation because that more clearly shows
       the division of Unicode into blocks of 256 characters.  Hexadecimal is also simply shorter
       than decimal.  You can use decimal notation, too, but learning to use hexadecimal just
       makes life easier with the Unicode standard.  The "U+HHHH" notation uses hexadecimal, for
       example.

       The "0x" prefix means a hexadecimal number, the digits are 0-9 and a-f (or A-F, case
       doesn't matter).  Each hexadecimal digit represents four bits, or half a byte.  "print
       0x..., "\n"" will show a hexadecimal number in decimal, and "printf "%x\n", $decimal" will
       show a decimal number in hexadecimal.  If you have just the "hex digits" of a hexadecimal
       number, you can use the "hex()" function.

	   print 0x0009, "\n";	  # 9
	   print 0x000a, "\n";	  # 10
	   print 0x000f, "\n";	  # 15
	   print 0x0010, "\n";	  # 16
	   print 0x0011, "\n";	  # 17
	   print 0x0100, "\n";	  # 256

	   print 0x0041, "\n";	  # 65

	   printf "%x\n",  65;	  # 41
	   printf "%#x\n", 65;	  # 0x41

	   print hex("41"), "\n"; # 65

   Further Resources
       o   Unicode Consortium

	   <http://www.unicode.org/>

       o   Unicode FAQ

	   <http://www.unicode.org/unicode/faq/>

       o   Unicode Glossary

	   <http://www.unicode.org/glossary/>

       o   Unicode Recommended Reading List

	   The Unicode Consortium has a list of articles and books, some of which give a much
	   more in depth treatment of Unicode: <http://unicode.org/resources/readinglist.html>

       o   Unicode Useful Resources

	   <http://www.unicode.org/unicode/onlinedat/resources.html>

       o   Unicode and Multilingual Support in HTML, Fonts, Web Browsers and Other Applications

	   <http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/>

       o   UTF-8 and Unicode FAQ for Unix/Linux

	   <http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/unicode.html>

       o   Legacy Character Sets

	   <http://www.czyborra.com/> <http://www.eki.ee/letter/>

       o   You can explore various information from the Unicode data files using the
	   "Unicode::UCD" module.

UNICODE IN OLDER PERLS
       If you cannot upgrade your Perl to 5.8.0 or later, you can still do some Unicode
       processing by using the modules "Unicode::String", "Unicode::Map8", and "Unicode::Map",
       available from CPAN.  If you have the GNU recode installed, you can also use the Perl
       front-end "Convert::Recode" for character conversions.

       The following are fast conversions from ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1) bytes to UTF-8 bytes and
       back, the code works even with older Perl 5 versions.

	   # ISO 8859-1 to UTF-8
	   s/([\x80-\xFF])/chr(0xC0|ord($1)>>6).chr(0x80|ord($1)&0x3F)/eg;

	   # UTF-8 to ISO 8859-1
	   s/([\xC2\xC3])([\x80-\xBF])/chr(ord($1)<<6&0xC0|ord($2)&0x3F)/eg;

SEE ALSO
       perlunitut, perlunicode, Encode, open, utf8, bytes, perlretut, perlrun, Unicode::Collate,
       Unicode::Normalize, Unicode::UCD

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
       Thanks to the kind readers of the perl5-porters@perl.org, perl-unicode@perl.org,
       linux-utf8@nl.linux.org, and unicore@unicode.org mailing lists for their valuable
       feedback.

AUTHOR, COPYRIGHT, AND LICENSE
       Copyright 2001-2011 Jarkko Hietaniemi <jhi@iki.fi>

       This document may be distributed under the same terms as Perl itself.

perl v5.16.3				    2013-03-04				  PERLUNIINTRO(1)
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