7 Desember 2020

TextDecoder and TextEncoder

What if the binary data is actually a string? For instance, we received a file with textual data.

The build-in TextDecoder object allows to read the value into an actual JavaScript string, given the buffer and the encoding.

We first need to create it:

let decoder = new TextDecoder([label], [options]);
  • label ??? the encoding, utf-8 by default, but big5, windows-1251 and many other are also supported.
  • options ??? optional object:
    • fatal ??? boolean, if true then throw an exception for invalid (non-decodable) characters, otherwise (default) replace them with character \uFFFD.
    • ignoreBOM ??? boolean, if true then ignore BOM (an optional byte-order Unicode mark), rarely needed.

???And then decode:

let str = decoder.decode([input], [options]);
  • input ??? BufferSource to decode.
  • options ??? optional object:
    • stream ??? true for decoding streams, when decoder is called repeatedly with incoming chunks of data. In that case a multi-byte character may occasionally split between chunks. This options tells TextDecoder to memorize ???unfinished??? characters and decode them when the next chunk comes.

For instance:

let uint8Array = new Uint8Array([72, 101, 108, 108, 111]);

alert( new TextDecoder().decode(uint8Array) ); // Hello
let uint8Array = new Uint8Array([228, 189, 160, 229, 165, 189]);

alert( new TextDecoder().decode(uint8Array) ); // ??????

We can decode a part of the buffer by creating a subarray view for it:

let uint8Array = new Uint8Array([0, 72, 101, 108, 108, 111, 0]);

// the string is in the middle
// create a new view over it, without copying anything
let binaryString = uint8Array.subarray(1, -1);

alert( new TextDecoder().decode(binaryString) ); // Hello


TextEncoder does the reverse thing ??? converts a string into bytes.

The syntax is:

let encoder = new TextEncoder();

The only encoding it supports is ???utf-8???.

It has two methods:

  • encode(str) ??? returns Uint8Array from a string.
  • encodeInto(str, destination) ??? encodes str into destination that must be Uint8Array.
let encoder = new TextEncoder();

let uint8Array = encoder.encode("Hello");
alert(uint8Array); // 72,101,108,108,111
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