Using Iconv to convert UTF-8 to ASCII (on Linux)
21 August 2007
There are situations where you want to remove all the UTF-8 goodness from a string
(mostly because of legacy systems you’re working with). Now, this is rather easy to do.
I’ll give you an example:
Should be converted to
cess. On my mac, I can simply use the following snippet to convert
s = "çéß" s = Iconv.iconv('ascii//translit', 'utf-8', s).to_s # returns "c'ess" s.gsub(/\W/, '') # return "cess"
Very nice and all, but when I deploy to my Debian 4.0 linux system, the I get an error that tells me that invalid characters were present. Why? Because the Mac has unicode goodness built-in. Linux does not (in most cases).
So, how do you go about solving this? Easy! Get unicode support!
sudo apt-get install unicode
Now, try again.
If you want to convert a sentence (or anything else with spaces in it), you’ll notice that spaces are removed by the gsub command. I solve this by splitting up the string first into words. Convert the words and then joining the words together again.
words = s.split(" ") words = words.collect do |word| word = Iconv.iconv('ascii//translit', 'utf-8', word).to_s word = word.gsub(/\W/,'') end words.join(" ")
Like this? Why not write a mix-in for String?