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Terminology Question (UTF-8 "vs" Unicode)

Terminology Question (UTF-8 "vs" Unicode)

Terminology Question (UTF-8 "vs" Unicode)


I am having a semantic argument at work.

We have code which converts UTF-8 characters (as const char* in C++) into a wchar_t* array of characters. They are arguing that we are converting "from" UTF-8 "to" Unicode.

My argument is that this is incorrect. We are converting from a single-byte representation of UTF-8 to a multi-byte representation of UTF-8. Both are Unicode. Is this correct?

The follow-on is that, in my understanding, there is no "pure" Unicode format, you must be using some sort of UTF methodology.

Any comments or corrections are greatly welcome.


RE: Terminology Question (UTF-8 "vs" Unicode)

unicode is a set of characters (a "character set"). How these are represented in a string is called a "character encoding". There are lots of encodings for unicode: utf-8, utf-16 (LE and BE), utf-32 and even utf-7 if you like hackable systems.

For more info, here's a good read:

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Terminology Question (UTF-8 "vs" Unicode)

Hi Jedi-Dan.

Although Unicode encompasses several variations, one usually refers to UTF-16 as "Unicode" encoding.
UTF-8 is single-byte where sufficient, multi-byte where not sufficient whereas UTF-16 is always double-byte.

Hence you are converting from a variable-byted encoding into UTF-16.
So saying that you convert from UTF-8 to Unicode is not wrong.
Saying "from a single-byte representation of UTF-8 to a multi-byte representation of UTF-8" however IS wrong.

Check your output in a hex editor. If you get a mixture of standard latin characters and some Â~ whatevers, then you have UTF-8.
If each standard latin character is followed by a NULL character, you have UTF-16, colloquially referred to as "Unicode".

winky smile

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- The Bastard Operator From Hell

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