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Subject: Re: [boost] [general] What will string handling in C++ look like inthe future [was Always treat ... ]
From: Ian Emmons (iemmons_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-01-20 17:58:35

On Jan 19, 2011, at 11:30 AM, Peter Dimov wrote:
> Alexander Lamaison wrote:
>> > There is a straightforward way for Microsoft to migrate Windows to this
>> > future: If they add UTF-8 support to their narrow character interface
>> > (I am avoiding calling it ANSI due to the negative connotations that
>> > has) and add narrow character APIs for all wide character APIs that lack
>> > a narrow counterpart, then I believe we could treat POSIX and Windows
>> > identically from an encoding point of view.
>> It would break any programs using the narrow API currently that use any
>> 'exotic' codepage (i.e. pretty much anything except 7-bit ascii).
> It will only break programs that depend on a specific code page. Programs that use the narrow API but do not require a specific code page (or a single byte code page - the exact opposite of exotic) will work fine - they'll simply see an ANSI code page of 65001. It will still cause a fair amount of breakage, of course, but in principle, the transition path is obvious and straightforward.

What I intended here (but forgot to say explicitly -- sorry) was that Microsoft could allow a process (or thread) to set its local character set to UTF-8. Then all existing code that pays attention to the narrow representation would find that it is UTF-8 and deal correctly with it.

Naturally, this migration would take time -- but Microsoft has done that before. They successfully transitioned a large developer base off 16-bit Windows and onto 32-bit Windows (and, incidentally, introduced the wide character API at the same time).

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