Eric Mason Eric Mason - 4 months ago 27x
Ruby Question

Is this the best way to unescape unicode escape sequences in Ruby?

I have some text that contains Unicode escape sequences like \u003C. This is what I came up with to unescape it:

string.gsub(/\u(....)/) {|m| [$1].pack("H*").unpack("n*").pack("U*")}

Is it correct? (i.e. it seems to work with my tests, but can someone more knowledgeable find a problem with it?)


Your regex, /\u(....)/, has some problems.

First of all, \u doesn't work the way you think it does, in 1.9 you'll get an error and in 1.8 it will just match a single u rather than the \u pair that you're looking for; you should use /\\u/ to find the literal \u that you want.

Secondly, your (....) group is much too permissive, that will allow any four characters through and that's not what you want. In 1.9, you want (\h{4}) (four hexadecimal digits) but in 1.8 you'd need ([\da-fA-F]{4}) as \h is a new thing.

So if you want your regex to work in both 1.8 and 1.9, you should use /\\u([\da-fA-F]{4})/. This gives you the following in 1.8 and 1.9:

>> s = 'Where is \u03bc pancakes \u03BD house? And u1123!'
=> "Where is \\u03bc pancakes \\u03BD house? And u1123!"
>> s.gsub(/\\u([\da-fA-F]{4})/) {|m| [$1].pack("H*").unpack("n*").pack("U*")}
=> "Where is μ pancakes ν house? And u1123!"

Using pack and unpack to mangle the hex number into a Unicode character is probably good enough but there may be better ways.