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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Tuesday 19 August 2003 (Day View)

19.08.2003Tuesday 19 August

Wake, to train, uneventful journey, regretfully express train not stopping at my station, slightly longer walk, ferry, iced coffee and hot chips, lecture, newsagent’s for graph book, IRC while pretending to do practical, tutorial, lecture, build 4-bit parallel adder-subtracter, wait for friends to build and rebuild theirs multiple times until it works, ferry, train home, chip shop, chips, vinegar, eat, soak finger, “The Untouchables” DVD, Mum on MSN, Becky on IRC, web host forum, Milo, teeth, bed – and thus another day is filled, filed away, and gone. “The Untouchables” is quite good, perhaps somewhat basic, but good – I wonder how accurately, if at all, it depicted the events of that time.
I’ve come across a rather serious problem. Quoted from the PHP manual, “In PHP, a character is the same as a byte, that is, there are exactly 256 different characters possible. This also implies that PHP has no native support of Unicode.” PHP does provide a function to encode some non-Unicode text to UTF-8, and vice versa, however there appears to be no way to support Unicode in PHP, as it assumes a character is a single byte. I can’t say how stupid this is, but that’s how it is. My site, and all its data, is stored as UTF-8, which is really the only logical format for storing textual data. Tonight I noticed that, as part of my form validation I’m counting how many characters are being input for my comments, and PHP is counting bytes as characters, but I’m inputting UTF-8, so PHP’s character count isn’t the same as the real character count, which is causing problems with my string truncation. Theoretically, I could end up with invalid characters if PHP truncates a multi-byte character halfway through. While I’m sure it’s much easier to stick to simple ASCII, I think it’s time that Americans accepted that there are certain other people in the world, who may live outside America, and who may not necessarily communicate in plain ASCII. Not having native Unicode support in something like PHP is particularly stupid, as UTF-8 is the international standard for textual communications across the internet, and is the required character set for any XML processor and, following logically on from that, XHTML, which is, hopefully, what the majority of PHP code should be outputting. To rephrase that thought in a more readable manner and without the myriad of commas, PHP, when dealing with XHTML (which should be replacing HTML, and which is presumably the primary purpose of PHP), should be required to understand and internally use UTF-8 as an XHTML document is an XML application. I, therefore, conclude that PHP, and any applications coded in PHP, are technically invalid. I’m afraid I’ve used too many commas again, but I do feel a little better after all that. PHP sucks, but I have to use something to support my XML and its XSL, and parse various links until browsers support something a bit more advanced than what they do now – and PHP is what my web host provides.
Oh dear, it is tomorrow. I must go to bed.
Comment by bv – Wednesday 20 August 2003, 12:23 AM
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 20 August 2003, 12:39 AM
  It’s made from squashed trees, and contains carcinogenic green for the lines, as well as carcinogenic white for the parts that aren’t lines, and it has a wiggle-wire up the top that alternatively goes in and out of holes in the paper, effectively binding it together to qualify for the required “bound” attribute so I can take it into my exam, and it has enough holes punched down the side so that I can put it into standard A4 ring binders in both the right and two wrong positions. I bought it from the newsagent near the crazy writer’s coffee shop where the POD is, and I think it cost $3.10 including GST. There were alternative versions available for less at the Union bookshop, but they had doubtful binding, which could have contained elephant’s spittle for all I know, so I couldn’t buy them.

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