MirOS Manual: utf8(3p)


utf8(3p)        Perl Programmers Reference Guide         utf8(3p)

NAME

     utf8 - Perl pragma to enable/disable UTF-8 (or UTF-EBCDIC)
     in source code

SYNOPSIS

         use utf8;
         no utf8;

         # Convert a Perl scalar to/from UTF-8.
         $num_octets = utf8::upgrade($string);
         $success    = utf8::downgrade($string[, FAIL_OK]);

         # Change the native bytes of a Perl scalar to/from UTF-8 bytes.
         utf8::encode($string);
         utf8::decode($string);

         $flag = utf8::is_utf8(STRING); # since Perl 5.8.1
         $flag = utf8::valid(STRING);

DESCRIPTION

     The "use utf8" pragma tells the Perl parser to allow UTF-8
     in the program text in the current lexical scope (allow
     UTF-EBCDIC on EBCDIC based platforms).  The "no utf8" pragma
     tells Perl to switch back to treating the source text as
     literal bytes in the current lexical scope.

     This pragma is primarily a compatibility device.  Perl ver-
     sions earlier than 5.6 allowed arbitrary bytes in source
     code, whereas in future we would like to standardize on the
     UTF-8 encoding for source text.

     Do not use this pragma for anything else than telling Perl
     that your script is written in UTF-8. The utility functions
     described below are useful for their own purposes, but they
     are not really part of the "pragmatic" effect.

     Until UTF-8 becomes the default format for source text,
     either this pragma or the encoding pragma should be used to
     recognize UTF-8 in the source.  When UTF-8 becomes the stan-
     dard source format, this pragma will effectively become a
     no-op.  For convenience in what follows the term UTF-X is
     used to refer to UTF-8 on ASCII and ISO Latin based plat-
     forms and UTF-EBCDIC on EBCDIC based platforms.

     See also the effects of the "-C" switch and its cousin, the
     $ENV{PERL_UNICODE}, in perlrun.

     Enabling the "utf8" pragma has the following effect:

     +   Bytes in the source text that have their high-bit set
         will be treated as being part of a literal UTF-8 charac-
         ter.  This includes most literals such as identifier

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         names, string constants, and constant regular expression
         patterns.

         On EBCDIC platforms characters in the Latin 1 character
         set are treated as being part of a literal UTF-EBCDIC
         character.

     Note that if you have bytes with the eighth bit on in your
     script (for example embedded Latin-1 in your string
     literals), "use utf8" will be unhappy since the bytes are
     most probably not well-formed UTF-8.  If you want to have
     such bytes and use utf8, you can disable utf8 until the end
     the block (or file, if at top level) by "no utf8;".

     If you want to automatically upgrade your 8-bit legacy bytes
     to UTF-8, use the encoding pragma instead of this pragma.
     For example, if you want to implicitly upgrade your ISO
     8859-1 (Latin-1) bytes to UTF-8 as used in e.g. "chr()" and
     "\x{...}", try this:

         use encoding "latin-1";
         my $c = chr(0xc4);
         my $x = "\x{c5}";

     In case you are wondering: yes, "use encoding 'utf8';" works
     much the same as "use utf8;".

     Utility functions

     The following functions are defined in the "utf8::" package
     by the Perl core.  You do not need to say "use utf8" to use
     these and in fact you should not say that  unless you really
     want to have UTF-8 source code.

     * $num_octets = utf8::upgrade($string)
         Converts in-place the octet sequence in the native
         encoding (Latin-1 or EBCDIC) to the equivalent character
         sequence in UTF-X. $string already encoded as characters
         does no harm. Returns the number of octets necessary to
         represent the string as UTF-X. Can be used to make sure
         that the UTF-8 flag is on, so that "\w" or "lc()" work
         as Unicode on strings containing characters in the range
         0x80-0xFF (on ASCII and derivatives).

         Note that this function does not handle arbitrary encod-
         ings. Therefore Encode.pm is recommended for the general
         purposes.

         Affected by the encoding pragma.

     * $success = utf8::downgrade($string[, FAIL_OK])
         Converts in-place the character sequence in UTF-X to the

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         equivalent octet sequence in the native encoding
         (Latin-1 or EBCDIC). $string already encoded as octets
         does no harm. Returns true on success. On failure dies
         or, if the value of "FAIL_OK" is true, returns false.
         Can be used to make sure that the UTF-8 flag is off,
         e.g. when you want to make sure that the substr() or
         length() function works with the usually faster byte
         algorithm.

         Note that this function does not handle arbitrary encod-
         ings. Therefore Encode.pm is recommended for the general
         purposes.

         Not affected by the encoding pragma.

         NOTE: this function is experimental and may change or be
         removed without notice.

     * utf8::encode($string)
         Converts in-place the character sequence to the
         corresponding octet sequence in UTF-X.  The UTF-8 flag
         is turned off.  Returns nothing.

         Note that this function does not handle arbitrary encod-
         ings. Therefore Encode.pm is recommended for the general
         purposes.

     * utf8::decode($string)
         Attempts to convert in-place the octet sequence in UTF-X
         to the corresponding character sequence.  The UTF-8 flag
         is turned on only if the source string contains
         multiple-byte UTF-X characters. If $string is invalid as
         UTF-X, returns false; otherwise returns true.

         Note that this function does not handle arbitrary encod-
         ings. Therefore Encode.pm is recommended for the general
         purposes.

         NOTE: this function is experimental and may change or be
         removed without notice.

     * $flag = utf8::is_utf8(STRING)
         (Since Perl 5.8.1)  Test whether STRING is in UTF-8.
         Functionally the same as Encode::is_utf8().

     * $flag = utf8::valid(STRING)
         [INTERNAL] Test whether STRING is in a consistent state
         regarding UTF-8.  Will return true is well-formed UTF-8
         and has the UTF-8 flag on or if string is held as bytes
         (both these states are 'consistent'). Main reason for
         this routine is to allow Perl's testsuite to check that
         operations have left strings in a consistent state.  You

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         most probably want to use utf8::is_utf8() instead.

     "utf8::encode" is like "utf8::upgrade", but the UTF8 flag is
     cleared.  See perlunicode for more on the UTF8 flag and the
     C API functions "sv_utf8_upgrade", "sv_utf8_downgrade",
     "sv_utf8_encode", and "sv_utf8_decode", which are wrapped by
     the Perl functions "utf8::upgrade", "utf8::downgrade",
     "utf8::encode" and "utf8::decode".  Note that in the Perl
     5.8.0 and 5.8.1 implementation the functions utf8::is_utf8,
     utf8::valid, utf8::encode, utf8::decode, utf8::upgrade, and
     utf8::downgrade are always available, without a "require
     utf8" statement-- this may change in future releases.

BUGS

     One can have Unicode in identifier names, but not in
     package/class or subroutine names.  While some limited func-
     tionality towards this does exist as of Perl 5.8.0, that is
     more accidental than designed; use of Unicode for the said
     purposes is unsupported.

     One reason of this unfinishedness is its (currently)
     inherent unportability: since both package names and subrou-
     tine names may need to be mapped to file and directory
     names, the Unicode capability of the filesystem becomes
     important-- and there unfortunately aren't portable answers.

SEE ALSO

     perluniintro, encoding, perlrun, bytes, perlunicode

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