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9 Feb

Working With UTF – 8 in PHP

PHP, we all know is an easy to understand programming language. Most of the well known online platforms like as Magento, WordPress, Facebook etc. are developed using PHP.

Today, in this blog post from one of our expert PHP Developers will take a look at the performance of PHP with UTF-8. Before we proceed ahead, I hope you all are aware about “UTF-8”.

It is basically a text code known as Unicode 8. At Present, PHP doesn’t support Unicode at low levels. There are various ways to ensure that UTF strings are processed in a perfect manner.

UTF 8 in PHP

However, it is not that easy and needs digging into almost all levels of web app starting from HTML to SQL to PHP. The complete summary is as follows:

UTF 8 with PHP:

Basic string operations like as combining two strings and then assigning them to variables is a very task with UTF8. However, various string functions like as strpos() and strlen() require special attention.

These functions have an mb_* counterpart like as mb_strpos() and mb_strlen(). These strings are available with Multibyte String Extension and these are developed specifically to operate on Unicode strings.

One can use mb*_functions whenever one operates Unicode string. Let’s say using substr() on UTF 8 string, there’s a good chance that results will have some confused half characters.

Here, the correct function must be the multibyte counterpart, mb_substr(). Here, the difficult thing is to remember mb*_functions every time. If you forget them even a single time then the Unicode string gets completely messed up during further process.

Every string doesn’t have the counterpart and in case there’s one for what you want to do then at times your luck may fail. Hence, it is advisable to use mb_internal_coding function which is available at the top of every PHP script.

Another function mb_http_output() is available right after the coding one in case the script is not viewed properly in your browser. Defining the coding of strings in each and every script will help you to reduce lot s of hard work in the end.

Along with this; many PHP functions that work on string functions will offer an exceptional parameter which helps you to specify the character coding. One must always use UTF-8 coding while dealing with such strings.

So, now we can say that till PHP5.4.0; UTF-8 is the default coding function used for htmlentities() and html specialchars()

Now, let’s say if you are creating the application and are uncertain as to whether mbstring extension is to be enabled or not then make sure to use patchwork/utf8 composer package.

It will use mbstring when it is available and then it will rely on non UTF8 functions.

UTF8 at Database Level:

Let’s say if the PHP script you are using is able to access MYSQL then chances are there that strings can be stored in the form of non UTF 8 strings in the database even if all measurements are taken properly.

Hence, in order to ensure that all strings go from PHP to MYSQL as UTF-8 then your database and tables must all be set to the utf8mb4 character set and collation. This utf8mb4 character set must be used for complete UTF-8 support instead of just the utf8 character set.

Take Away:

In this way UTF8 can be used with PHP where it has different functions at various levels. Hope you liked this post. For more such updates and information related to PHP; stay tuned to Softqube Technologies from where you can hire dedicated PHP developers at affordable rates.

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