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From: Andrey Semashev (andysem_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-06-23 15:31:24

Jeremy Maitin-Shepard wrote:
> Andrey Semashev <andysem_at_[hidden]> writes:

>>>>> That will just require duplicating the tables and algorithms required to
>>>>> process the text correctly.
>>>> What algorithms do you mean and why would they need duplication?
>>> Examples of such algorithms are string collation, comparison, line
>>> breaking, word wrapping, and hyphenation.
>> Why would these algorithms need duplication? If we have all
>> locale-specific traits and tools, such as collation tables, character
>> checking functions like isspace, isalnum, etc. along with new ones that
>> might be needed for Unicode, encapsulated into locale classes, the
>> essence of algorithms should be independent form the text encoding.
> Using standard data tables, and a single algorithm that merely accesses
> the locale-specific data tables, you can provide these algorithms for
> UTF-16 (and other Unicode encodings) for essentially all locales. This
> is done by libraries like IBM ICU. Providing them in addition for other
> encodings, however, would require separate data tables and separate
> implementations.

I still can't see why one would need to reimplement algorithms. Their
logic is the same regardless of the encoding.

>> What I was saying, if we have a UTF-8 encoded string that contains both
>> latin and national characters that encode to several octets, it becomes
>> a non-trivial task to extract i-th character (not octet) from the
>> string. Same problem with iteration - iterator has to analyze the
>> character it points to to adjust its internal pointer to the beginning
>> of the next character. The same thing will happen with true UTF-16 and
>> UTF-32 support.
>> As an example of the need in such functionality, it is widely used in
>> various text parsers.
> I'm still not sure I quite see it. I would think that the most common
> case in parsing text is to read it in order from the beginning. I
> suppose in some cases you might be parsing something where you know a
> field is aligned to e.g. the 20th character,

There may be different parsing techniques, depending on the text format.
Sometimes only character iteration is sufficient, in case of forward
sequential parsing. There is no restriction, though, to perform
non-sequential parsing (in case if there is some table of contents with
offsets or each field to be parsed is prepended with its length).

> but such formats tend to
> assume very simple encodings anyway, because they don't make much sense
> if you are to support complicated accents and such.

If all standard algorithms and classes assume that the text being parsed
is in Unicode, it cannot perform optimizations in a more efficient
manner. The std::string or regex or stream classes will always have to
treat the text as Unicode.

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