|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
Re: How can I tell if a string contains binary data or plain-old text?by dakkar (Hermit)
|on Oct 31, 2003 at 14:43 UTC||Need Help??|
First of all: you can't have a "Unicode" file.
You can have a file containing Unicode code-points encoded in one of the transformation formats defined by the Unicode standard, such as UTF-8 or UTF-16.
So the question becomes:
I have a byte-stream. Is it a valid (ISO-8859-1|UTF-8|UTF-16)-encoded representation of some text?
This can be answered, since none of those encodings defines a meaning for each and every byte-sequence. But this is quite possibly not the answer you're looking for.
The way I see it, it's easier to check if your byte-stream contains something you know not to be text, using something like file(2) or File::MMagic as already suggested.
Doing it the other way ("is it a valid encoded form") gives you a lot of "this is text" when, in fact, it is nothing intelligible.
You could try to decode it and then do some heuristics to see if looks like text (ex. a lot of letters from the same script/writing system in a row, or something of the sort), but I think it's more trouble than it's worth.
-- dakkar - Mobilis in mobile
Most of my code is tested...