Perl Unicode Cookbook: Make File I/O Default to UTF-8

℞ 17: Make file I/O default to utf8

If you've ever had the misfortune of seeing the Unicode warning "wide character in print", you may have realized that something forgot to set the appropriate Unicode-capable encoding on a filehandle somewhere in your program. Remember that the rule of Unicode handling in Perl is "always encode and decode at the edges of your program".

You can easily Decode STDIN, STDOUT, and STDERR as UTF-8 by default or Decode STDIN, STDOUT, and STDERR per local settings as a default, or you can use binmode to set the encoding on a specific filehandle.

Alternately, you can set the default encoding on all filehandles through the entire program, or on a lexical basis. As documented in perldoc perlrun, the -C flag and the PERL_UNICODE environment variable are available. Use the D option to make all filehandles default to UTF-8 encoding. That is, files opened without an encoding argument will be in UTF-8:

     $ perl -CD ...
     # or
     $ export PERL_UNICODE=D

The open pragma configures the default encoding of all filehandle operations in its lexical scope:

     use open qw(:utf8);

Note that the open pragma is currently incompatible with the autodie pragma.

Previous: ℞ 16: Decode Standard Filehandles as Locale Encoding

Series Index: The Standard Preamble

Next: ℞ 18: Make All I/O Default to UTF-8

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