UCS-2 encoding problem



  • @Marek-Jindra said:

    I expected it to work because it worked in the previous versions.

    Sometimes features change between versions. That’s why many people recommend not succumbing to upgraditis – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Others recommend doing every update, because of potential security problems – that’s great advice for front-facing applications like phone apps or web browsers, which do a lot of networking; but for local-focused applications like Notepad++, that’s not as critical.

    Since an older version works for you, you might consider re-installing the older version, and turning off auto-updates. In that case, you can either wait until your feature request is implemented and confirmed before upgrading, or just not bother upgrading.

    In the end, it’s up to you. Good luck.



  • BTW I have not found the hex editor plugin to be very good; in this case maybe best to use a separate hex editor. Notepad++, while we want it to do and be good at all things, isn’t the type of program with the necessary kinds of resources behind its development to support being all-powerful.



  • @Marek-Jindra

    Now I have to use another software, or an old version of NPP, because I am not able to view the unicode file as bytes (8bit encoding).

    i get the same results on all tested notepad++ versions, from very old to newest.
    (5.9.3 ansi, 5.9.3 unicode, 7.5.5, 7.6.3)
    are you sure that it behaved differently on an old version of npp ?
    if yes, which version was it ?

    if you have time, you can download all older portable versions from here:
    https://notepad-plus-plus.org/download/all-versions.html
    (choose the zip packages. they will not interfere with your installed version)
    and find the version which did what you need.
    reason: as soon as you file an issue report, it might be of help, if a notepad++ reference source code, that behaves like you would expect, has ever existed.

    here are my test results:

    original content of "Pound.txt", saved as ucs-2 le bom, displayed as ucs-2 le bom:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    -----
    
    ansi/utf-8 view in notepad++ 7.5.5:
    
    encoding > encode in ansi:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    encoding > encode in utf-8:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    -----
    
    ansi/utf-8 view in notepad++ 7.6.3:
    
    encoding > encode in ansi:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    encoding > encode in utf-8:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    -----
    
    ansi/utf-8 view in notepad++ 5.9.3 unicode:
    
    encoding > encode in ansi:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    encoding > encode in utf-8:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    -----
    
    ansi/utf-8 view in notepad++ 5.9.3 ansi:
    
    encoding > encode in ansi:
    £1 = €1.17
    
    encoding > encode in utf-8:
    £1 = €1.17
    


  • i second @Alan-Kilborn with the separate hex editor (where are we now ? somewhere between 4096 and 65536 i guess ;-) )

    @Marek-Jindra @Alan-Kilborn @PeterJones and all:
    i currently use hxd 2.2.1 (https://mh-nexus.de/en/hxd/)
    which ones do you use ? maybe yours are even better for parsing character encodings, as hxd is good as a hex editor, but rather limited when it comes to file encodings.



  • @Meta-Chuh

    Not sure hxd needs to be good at file encodings. I use it as well when I have the need to get to that level.



  • Apparently I haven’t needed a hex editor since my last computer upgrade at work, but when I do, HxD is what I use.

    When all I need to do is do a quick hex dump, which I use much more often than a full-blown hex editor, I use the xxd that’s bundled with the windows version of gvim.



  • Yep, I have two run menu entries HxD and HxD load current document :-)



  • Thank you all for your input. I will also have a look at the HxD.

    @Meta-Chuh
    I think this changed after I upgraded from NPP 7.5.9 to 7.6.2.
    I am quite sure it behaved differently in the older version.
    Now I tried the portable version and you are right, it behaves the same as the current version.
    So it might be plugin-related or config-related.
    I think I have got an older version of NPP on my other laptop, so I will investigate that and search for differences.



  • Hello, @marek-jindra, @peterjones, @meta chuh, @alan-kilborn, @ekopalypse, and All,

    I have the explanation of this behavior, but, unfortunately, I cannot confirm you that is the correct one :-/

    I’m going to begin with some general notions. Then, I’ll try to give you an accurate answer. I know, encodings are really a nightmare for everyone of us :-((


    If we write the string £1 = €1.17, in a new file then use the Convert to UCS-2 LE BOM N++ option and save it as pound.txt, the different bytes of this file and their signification are as below :

     BOM         £         1         SP        =        SP         €         1         .         1         7
    -----      -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----
    ff fe      a3 00     31 00     20 00     3d 00     20 00     ac 20     31 00     2e 00     31 00     37 00
    

    Everything logical, here !

    • The UCS-2 encoding can only encode the Unicode characters of the BMP ( Basic Multilingual Plane ) of the range [\x{0000}-\x{D7FF}\x{E000}-\x{FFFF}] in a 16-bits code unit.

    • The LE terminology means that, for each character, the least significant byte ( containing the least significant byte ) is written first and the most significant byte comes last

    • The BOM syntax is an invisible Byte Order Mark, the Unicode character x{FEFF}, logically written FFFE according to the Little Endian rule witch identify the byte order, without ambiguity !

    Refer to :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTF-16

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endianness

    Remarks :

    • It’s important to point out that the two N++ encodings UCS-2 LE and UCS-2 BE cannot represent Unicode characters, with code-points over \x{FFFF}, so over the BMP ( Basic Multilingual Plane )

    • In order to represent these characters ( for instance the emoticons characters , in range [\x{1f600}-\x{1F64F}] ), while keeping the two bytes architecture, the UTF-16 encoding ( BTW, the default Windows Unicode encoding ! ) codes them in two 16-bit units, called a surrogate pair

    • These two 16-bits are located in range [\x{D800}-\x{DBFF ( High surrogates ) and in range [\x{DC00}-\x{DFFF ( Low surrogates ). Refer, below, for additional information :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTF-16#U+010000_to_U+10FFFF

    • This also means that, if your document contains characters, with Unicode code-point over x{FFFF}, it must be saved, exclusively, with the N++ UTF-8 or UTF-8 BOM encodings !

    Now, Marek, let’s get back to your question :

    From the definition of an encoding, this process should not change the file contents but simply re-interprets file contents, according the encoding map of the characters, in this encoding

    So, in theory, it should be, strictly, as below ( I assume that the BOM is also ignored ) :

                £ NUL     1 NUL    SP NUL     = NUL    SP NUL     ¬ SP      1 NUL     . NUL     1 NUL     7 NUL
    
               a3 00     31 00     20 00     3d 00     20 00     ac 20     31 00     2e 00     31 00     37 00
    

    Instead, after using the N++ Encode in ANSI option and saving the file, we get this strange layout :

                Â   £      1         SP        =        SP      â   ‚   ¬    1         .         1         7
               --  --     --         --       --        --     --  --  --   --        --        --        --
               c2  a3     31         20       3d        20     e2  82  ac   31        2e        31        37
    

    At first sight, we cannot see any logic ! Actually, two phases occur :

    • Firstly, a transformation of the UCS-2 LE BOM representation of characters, with code-point > \x{007F}, into the analog UTF-8 representation of these characters

    • Secondly, the normal re-interpretation of these bytes in ANSI, which is, by the way, quite identical to the Windows-1252 encoding, in my country ( France )

    So :

    • The £ character, of Unicode code-point \x00A3, and represented, in UTF-8, with the two-bytes sequence C2A3 is finally interpreted as the two ANSI characters  and £

    • The character, of Unicode code-point \x20AC, and represented, in UTF-8, with the three-bytes sequence E282AC is finally interpreted as the three ANSI characters â, and ¬

    IMPORTANT : I don’t know if this behavior is a real bug or if some “hidden” rules could explain it :-(( In the meanwhile, we have to live with it !

    Thus, then you performed you second operation Encode in UTF8, you see, again, the £1 = €1.17 text, with the internal representation :

                 £         1         SP        =        SP         €         1         .         1         7
               -----      --         --        -        --     --------     --        --        --        -- 
               c2 a3      31         20       3d        20     e2 82 ac     31        2e        31        37
    

    Now, let’s compare with some other N++ sequences of Encoding in / Convert to !

    Let’s start, again, with your correct “Pound.txt” file, saved after the operation Convert to UCS-2 LE BOM" :

     BOM         £         1         SP        =        SP         €         1         .         1         7
    -----      -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----
    ff fe      a3 00     31 00     20 00     3d 00     20 00     ac 20     31 00     2e 00     31 00     37 00
    

    If we use the Convert to UTF-8 BOM N++ option, first, we obtain, the same text, with the byte contents :

      BOM        £         1         SP        =        SP         €         1         .         1         7
    --------   -----      --         --        -        --     --------     --        --        --        --
    ef bb bf   c2 a3      31         20       3d        20     e2 82 ac     31        2e        31        37
    

    BTW, note that the beginning byte sequence EF BB BF is simply the UTF-8 representation of the Unicode character of the BOM ( \x{FEFF} )

    Then, after a Encode in ANSI operation, we get this layout, identical to what you obtained when changing, directly from Convert to UCS-2 LE BOM to Encode in ANSI

                Â   £      1         SP        =        SP      â   ‚   ¬    1         .         1         7
               --  --     --         --       --        --     --  --  --   --        --        --        --
               c2  a3     31         20       3d        20     e2  82  ac   31        2e        31        37
    

    To end with, let’s, again, click on the Encode in UTF-8 BOM option. We read, logically, the correct text £1 = €1.17, with the bytes sequence :

      BOM        £         1         SP        =        SP         €         1         .         1         7
    --------   -----      --         --        -        --     --------     --        --        --        --
    ef bb bf   c2 a3      31         20       3d        20     e2 82 ac     31        2e        31        37
    

    Now, if we click on the Convert to ANSI option, we get the same text £1 = €1.17, corresponding to :

                 £         1         SP        =        SP         €         1         .         1         7
                --        --         --       --        --        --        --        --        --        --
                a3        31         20       3d        20        80        31        2e        31        37
    

    IMPORTANT :

    Unlike the encoding process, a conversion to a new encoding does modify file contents, trying to write all the characters displayed, in current encoding, according to the byte representation, of these characters, in the new desired encoding !

    Hope that my answer gives you some hints !

    Best Regards,

    guy038

    I’m quite used to this tiny but very useful on-line UTF-8 tool :

    http://www.cogsci.ed.ac.uk/~richard/utf-8.cgi?

    Before typing anything in the zone, I advice you :

    • To read the notes, carefully, at end of the page

    • To select the right type of your entry which, generally, will be, either, Interpret as Character or Interpret as Hex code point ( For instance, character or Unicode value 20AC )



  • @guy038
    Thank you for the explanation. You described very thoroughly what happens.

    I think, this behavior is very good for people, who want to see a readable text and not bother with encodings. It doesn’t corrupt the characters even if you tell it to do so.
    But I think NPP is not displaying the truth to me, how the UCS-2 LE really looks like if interpreted as ANSI.


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