I have a program that outputs a textual table using UTF-8 strings, and I need to measure the number of monospaced character cells used by a string so I can align it properly. If possible, I'd like to do this with standard functions.
The number of characters can be counted in C in a portable way using
mbstowcs(NULL,s,0). This works for UTF-8 like for any other supported encoding, as long as the appropriate locale has been selected. A hard-wired technique to count the number of characters in a UTF-8 string is to count all bytes except those in the range 0x80 – 0xBF, because these are just continuation bytes and not characters of their own. However, the need to count characters arises surprisingly rarely in applications.