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Demystifying ASP Code Pages, Response.Write, Response.BinaryWrite, Strings, and Charsets

Chilkat ActiveX Downloads

ActiveX for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows

ASP example that (hopefully) demystifies some issues regarding the use of international charsets in literal strings and Response output.

<% @CodePage = 65001 %>
<% Response.CodePage = 1252 %> 

<%
' How to use any charset / code page in ASP.

' The first directive, "@CodePage" is the code page of the ASP file.
' When you save the .asp file using your editor, save it in this code page.
' This is the charset used for literal strings within your ASP scripting.
' 
' The Response.CodePage directive indicates the charset encoding emitted
' by Response.Write.  

' The charset specified in the <meta> tag, as shown below, must match
' the Response.CodePage.  
%>

<html>
<head><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252"></head>
<body>
<%

' Let's examine this seemingly simple statement:
myStr = "eèéêë"
' myStr is a String.  Strings in ASP are Unicode (2 bytes/char).
' This particular .asp file is saved in the utf-8 encoding (our @CodePage is utf-8).
' Therefore, the ASP scripting engine converts the literal string from utf-8 to
' Unicode.  (utf-8 is actually the multibyte encoding of Unicode, but it is a different
' character encoding than the 2-byte/char Unicode)

' Here's another seemingly simple statement:
Response.Write myStr & "<br>"
' Response.Write accepts a Unicode string argument and emits it to standard output
' using the Response.CodePage.  In this case, it converts from Unicode to windows-1252
' and emits windows-1252, which is 1-byte/char.

' What about this?:
Response.Write "eèéêë<br>"
' The utf-8 literal string is emitted as windows-1252.  
' (Internally, it is probably converted to Unicode, passed to Response.Write, and
' then converted and emitted as windows-1252.)

' What about this?:
Response.Write "eèéêë私はガラスを食<br>"
' We are able to add Japanese characters to our literal string, because the
' .asp is saved using utf-8.  However, the Response.CodePage is windows-1252,
' and there are no glyphs available for Japanese characters in windows-1252.
' The characters cannot be converted, so they are replaced with question marks.

' The Chilkat String object allows the string to be retrieved as Unicode,
' or in any charset:
set cks = Server.CreateObject("Chilkat_9_5_0.CkString")

cks.Append "eèéêë"
' The "Str" property is the current value of the string in Unicode.
' It can be passed to Response.Write or assigned to a string variable.
Response.Write cks.Str & "<br>"

' We can also emit the string in any code page.  For example:
Response.BinaryWrite cks.EmitMultibyte("windows-1252")
' EmitMultibyte works here because (1) BinaryWrite simply passes the bytes to the 
' response unmodified, and (2) we are emitting windows-1252, which matches
' both the Response.CodePage *and* the charset specified in the <meta> tag.
Response.Write "<br>"

' What about this:?
Response.BinaryWrite cks.EmitMultibyte("utf-8")
' We don't get what we expect because Response.BinaryWrite emits the bytes exactly
' as it receives them.  EmitMultibyte is emitting utf-8, and
' BinaryWrite passes the bytes untouched to the response output.
' However, the browser is expecting windows-1252 (because
' of our <meta> tag, so the bytes are incorrectly interpreted byte-for-byte as
' windows-1252 characters).  


%>
</body>
</html>
 

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