Converting files to UTF-8 from the command line

Converting to and from charset encoding is boring. Life would be much easier if everything was saved in proper UTF-8.

I just coded a couple of scripts that will help be read file encoding from files and convert them to UTF-8.

First, not all encoding can be easily read. Some uses markers that are easy to check, other requires heuristic and guessing. I won't deal with the second part. Most of the files I'm currently handling are either Latin1 (ISO-8859-1) or Latin2 (ISO-8859-2), so I'll limit the scope of my scripts to those two sets.

Fortunatly, the default file command can do that.

$ file -bi file.txt
text/plain; charset=us-ascii
$ file -bi bad.html
text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
$ file -bi good.html
text/html; charset=utf-8

Now that we have a way to know the input encoding, we can use recode to convert to UTF-8. You can install recode easily with sudo apt-get install recode.

Once done, it is just a matter of convert latin1..utf8 bad.html

I wrapped those methods in two scripts : encoding and utf8 that respectively output the file encoding and convert the file to utf8.

Tags : #iso-8859-1 #encoding #utf8 #iso-8859-2

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