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Read Different Encoding in Java

Read Different Encoding in Java

Encoding could be quite a problem when reading text-based files. The Java Scanner can constructed with specified encoding: new Scanner (InputStream, Encoding). However, this doesn't help when we don't know the encoding of files programs are reading. So we have to detect the encoding before reading it.

1. Detect Encoding

There is a method in InputStreamReader called getEncoding();. However, it never return the correct encoding of file but rather the encoding used by this stream, which is always GBK on my machine.

I found a library on Internet to detect encodings: juniversalchardet which is a Java port of 'universalchardet', the encoding detector library of Mozilla.

Using it is quite straight forward if you have previous experience with using external packages. Read the ReadMe file inside downloaded source archive and here you go.

License Note: The library is subject to the Mozilla Public License Version 1.1. Alternatively, the library may be used under the terms of either the GNU General Public License Version 2 or later, or the GNU Lesser General Public License 2.1 or later.

However, this library failed to get the encoding of my files too many times, so I found another project powered by IBM and used by many Companies: ICU - International Components for Unicode. License is quite complicated though, the library is open-sourced.

Using is also very simple. My example:

public static String getEncoding(File textFile) throws FileNotFoundException, IOException { cd = new; fis = new; bis = new;
    CharsetMatch cm = cd.detect();
    return cm.getName();

Note: The InputStream must support mark, i.e. the InputStream.markSupported() must return true. Support mark or not is invariant for a specified stream, e.g. BufferedInputStream supports while FileInputStream doesn't support.

See : StackOverflaw - Java : How to determine the correct charset encoding of a stream