The usage of codecs is facilitated with the following query options:
Displays the characters which are supported by the given codec name. If no codec name is omitted, the list of all supported codecs is printed on the screen.
Displays the characters that are covered by a user written codec mapping file.
Displays all supported codecs which are designed for the specified (human) language. If no language’s name is omitted, the list of all supported codecs is printed on the screen.
For example, if it is intended to design an input language for Chinese, quex can be called to show the directly supported codecs (other than Unicode):
> quex --codec-for-language
shows the list of supported languages:
... command line: English, Traditional Chinese, Hebrew, Western Europe, command line: Greek, Baltic languages, Central and Eastern Europe, command line: Bulgarian, Byelorussian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, command line: Turkish, Portuguese, Icelandic, Canadian, Arabic, Danish, command line: Norwegian, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, Vietnamese, command line: Simplified Chinese, Unified Chinese, West Europe, Esperanto, command line: Maltese, Nordic languages, Celtic languages, Ukrainian, command line: Kazakh,
Now, asking for the codecs supporting the Celtic language:
> quex --codec-for-language 'Celtic languages'
delivers iso8859_14 as possible codec. Again a call to quex allows to verify if all desired characters are supported.
> quex –codec-info iso8859_14
By means of those queries it can be decided quickly which character encoding is the most appropriate for ones needs. For some script and languages, though, problems may arise from the fact that multiple code points carry the same ‘character’. Systems that are able to render according to arabic letter linking rules might rely on 28 unicode code points starting from 600 (hex). The same 28 letters are represented in about 128 code points starting from FE80 (hex)-for systems that might not be able to do the rendering automatically.
The decision which encoding to choose is very specific to the the particular application. In any case, if iconv is installed on a system, the validity of an encoding can be checked easily. One starts with some representive samples of the text to be analyzed coded in UTF-8 (or any other ‘complete’ encoding). A call to iconv of the type:
> iconv -f utf-8 -t CodecX sample.txt
shows the result on the screen. If there are characters which could not be translated, then CodecX is not suited as an encoding to handle the file sample.txt.