Regina Calculation Engine
Encodings for international strings

As of version 4.5, Regina (finally) pays attention to character encodings.

The calculation engine uses UTF-8 for all strings (except possibly for filenames; see below). This means that programmers who pass strings into routines must ensure that they use UTF-8, and programmers who receive strings from routines may assume that they are returned in UTF-8. Note that plain ASCII is a subset of UTF-8, so plain ASCII text is always fine to use.

Regina's XML data files are also stored using UTF-8. Older versions of Regina used LATIN1 (the default for the Qt libraries) and did not specify an encoding in the XML header; however, Regina's file I/O routines are aware of this, and will convert older data into UTF-8 as it is loaded into memory (the files themselves are of course not modified). The routine versionUsesUTF8() may be useful for programmers who need to work with older data files at a low level.

File names are a special case, since here Regina must interact with the underlying operating system. All filenames that are passed into routines must be presented in whatever encoding the operating system expects; Regina will simply pass them through to the standard C/C++ file I/O routines (such as fopen() or std::ifstream::open()) without modifying them in any way.

It should be noted that ancient data files that use the old binary format (Regina 2.x, before mid-2002) only support plain ASCII text. Support for the old binary format is likely to be removed entirely in the very near future.

Python:
Users and programmers who use the Python interface must take special care, since Python does not pass strings around in UTF-8 by default.

Proper support for character encodings is quite new, and the main author rarely uses this (being a native English speaker). If you see Regina treating international characters in unexpected ways, please mail the author(s) or file a bug report so the problem can be fixed!


Copyright © 1999-2013, The Regina development team
This software is released under the GNU General Public License, with some additional permissions; see the source code for details.
For further information, or to submit a bug or other problem, please contact Ben Burton (bab@debian.org).