Trail: Internationalization
Lesson: Working with Text
Section: Converting Non-Unicode Text
Character and Byte Streams
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Character and Byte Streams

The java.io package provides classes that allow you to convert between Unicode character streams and byte streams of non-Unicode text. With the InputStreamReader class, you can convert byte streams to character streams. You use the OutputStreamWriter class to translate character streams into byte streams. The following figure illustrates the conversion process:

This figure represents the conversion process

When you create InputStreamReader and OutputStreamWriter objects, you specify the byte encoding that you want to convert. For example, to translate a text file in the UTF-8 encoding into Unicode, you create an InputStreamReader as follows:

FileInputStream fis = new FileInputStream("test.txt");
InputStreamReader isr = new InputStreamReader(fis, "UTF8");

If you omit the encoding identifier, InputStreamReader and OutputStreamWriter rely on the default encoding. You can determine which encoding an InputStreamReader or OutputStreamWriter uses by invoking the getEncoding method, as follows:

InputStreamReader defaultReader = new InputStreamReader(fis);
String defaultEncoding = defaultReader.getEncoding();

The example that follows shows you how to perform character-set conversions with the InputStreamReader and OutputStreamWriter classes. The full source code for this example is in StreamConverter.java. This program displays Japanese characters. Before trying it out, verify that the appropriate fonts have been installed on your system. If you are using the JDK software that is compatible with version 1.1, make a copy of the font.properties file and then replace it with the font.properties.ja file.

The StreamConverter program converts a sequence of Unicode characters from a String object into a FileOutputStream of bytes encoded in UTF-8. The method that performs the conversion is called writeOutput:

static void writeOutput(String str) {
    try {
        FileOutputStream fos = new FileOutputStream("test.txt");
        Writer out = new OutputStreamWriter(fos, "UTF8");
        out.write(str);
        out.close();
    } 
    catch (IOException e) {
        e.printStackTrace();
    }
}

The readInput method reads the bytes encoded in UTF-8 from the file created by the writeOutput method. An InputStreamReader object converts the bytes from UTF-8 into Unicode and returns the result in a String. The readInput method is as follows:

static String readInput() {
    StringBuffer buffer = new StringBuffer();
    try {
        FileInputStream fis = new FileInputStream("test.txt");
        InputStreamReader isr = new InputStreamReader(fis, "UTF8");
        Reader in = new BufferedReader(isr);
        int ch;
        while ((ch = in.read()) > -1) {
            buffer.append((char)ch);
        }
        in.close();
        return buffer.toString();
    } 
    catch (IOException e) {
        e.printStackTrace();
        return null;
    }
}

The main method of the StreamConverter program invokes the writeOutput method to create a file of bytes encoded in UTF-8. The readInput method reads the same file, converting the bytes back into Unicode. Here is the source code for the main method:

public static void main(String[] args) {
    String jaString = new String("\u65e5\u672c\u8a9e\u6587\u5b57\u5217");
    writeOutput(jaString); 
    String inputString = readInput();
    String displayString = jaString + " " + inputString;
    new ShowString(displayString, "Conversion Demo");
}

The original string (jaString) should be identical to the newly created string (inputString). To show that the two strings are the same, the program concatenates them and displays them with a ShowString object. The ShowString class displays a string with the Graphics.drawString method. The source code for this class is in ShowString.java. When the StreamConverter program instantiates ShowString, the following window appears. The repetition of the characters displayed verifies that the two strings are identical:

This is a screens hot of the StreamConverter program

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