Java String encoding (UTF-8)

18

I have come across this line of legacy code, which I am trying to figure out:

String newString = new String(oldString.getBytes("UTF-8"), "UTF-8"));

As far as I can understand, it is encoding & decoding using the same charSet.

How is this different from the following?

String newString = oldString;

Is there any scenario in which the two lines will have different outputs?

p.s.: Just to clarify, yes I am aware of the excellent article on encoding by Joel Spolsky !

This question is tagged with java string encoding

~ Asked on 2012-01-13 16:45:58

The Best Answer is


22

This could be complicated way of doing

String newString = new String(oldString);

This shortens the String is the underlying char[] used is much longer.

However more specifically it will be checking that every character can be UTF-8 encoded.

There are some "characters" you can have in a String which cannot be encoded and these would be turned into ?

Any character between \uD800 and \uDFFF cannot be encoded and will be turned into '?'

String oldString = "\uD800";
String newString = new String(oldString.getBytes("UTF-8"), "UTF-8");
System.out.println(newString.equals(oldString));

prints

false

~ Answered on 2012-01-13 17:09:37


4

How is this different from the following?

This line of code here:

String newString = new String(oldString.getBytes("UTF-8"), "UTF-8"));

constructs a new String object (i.e. a copy of oldString), while this line of code:

String newString = oldString;

declares a new variable of type java.lang.String and initializes it to refer to the same String object as the variable oldString.

Is there any scenario in which the two lines will have different outputs?

Absolutely:

String newString = oldString;
boolean isSameInstance = newString == oldString; // isSameInstance == true

vs.

String newString = new String(oldString.getBytes("UTF-8"), "UTF-8"));
 // isSameInstance == false (in most cases)    
boolean isSameInstance = newString == oldString;

a_horse_with_no_name (see comment) is right of course. The equivalent of

String newString = new String(oldString.getBytes("UTF-8"), "UTF-8"));

is

String newString = new String(oldString);

minus the subtle difference wrt the encoding that Peter Lawrey explains in his answer.

~ Answered on 2012-01-13 16:55:14


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