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Subject: Re: [boost] [General] Always treat std::strings as UTF-8
From: Peter Dimov (pdimov_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-01-14 09:54:05

John B. Turpish wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 4:42 AM, Matus Chochlik <chochlik_at_[hidden]>
> wrote:
> > b) UTF-32 is basically a waste of memory for most localizations.
> I'm not an expert, so take this with a grain of salt. But couldn't it
> just as easily be said that UTF-8 is a waste of CPU? There are a
> number of operations that are constant time if you can assume a fixed
> size for a character that I would think would have to be linear for
> UTF-8, for example accessing the Nth character.

Yes, in principle, but:

- you rarely, if ever, need to access the Nth character;
- waste of space is also a waste of CPU due to more cache misses;
- UTF-8 has the nice property that you can do things with a string without
even decoding the characters; for example, you can sort UTF-8 strings as-is,
or split them on a specific (7 bit) character, such as '.' or '/'.

Typically, UTF/UCS-32 is only needed as an intermediate representation in
very few places, the rest of the strings can happily stay UTF-8.

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