Finding the user’s current region using RegionInfo in .NET C#

The CultureInfo object helps a lot in finding information about the user’s current culture. However, on occasion it may not be enough and you need to find out more about that user’s regional characteristics. You can easily retrieve a RegionInfo object from CultureInfo which will hold information about a particular country or region.

You can find the current region in two ways from CultureInfo:

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Getting the byte array of a string depending on Encoding in C# .NET

You can take any string in C# and view its byte array data depending on the Encoding type. You can get hold of the encoding type using the Encoding.GetEncoding method. Some frequently used code pages have their short-cuts:

  • Encoding.ASCII
  • Encoding.BigEndianUnicode
  • Encoding.Unicode – this is UTF16
  • Encoding.UTF7
  • Encoding.UTF32
  • Encoding.UTF8

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Using NumberStyles to parse numbers in C# .NET Part 3

In the previous post we looked at some more values in the NumberStyles enumeration. In this finishing post we’ll look at some more compact enumeration values and how you can pass in your own number format provider for customised and culture-independent solutions.

We’ve seen that you can combine the NumberStyles enumeration values like here:

string rawNumber = "$(14)";
int parsedNumber = int.Parse(rawNumber, NumberStyles.AllowParentheses | NumberStyles.AllowCurrencySymbol);

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Using NumberStyles to parse numbers in C# .NET Part 2

In the previous post we looked at some basic usage of the NumberStyles enumeration. The enumeration allows to parse other representations of numeric values.

Occasionally negative numbers are shown with a trailing negative sign like this: “13-“. There’s a solution for that:

string number = "13-";
int parsed = int.Parse(number, NumberStyles.AllowTrailingSign);

“parsed” will be -13 as expected.

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Using NumberStyles to parse numbers in C# .NET Part 1

There are a lot of number formats out there depending on the industry we’re looking at. E.g. negative numbers can be represented in several different ways:

  • -14
  • (14)
  • 14-
  • 14.00-
  • (14,00)

…and so on. Accounting, finance and other, highly “numeric” fields will have their own standards to represent numbers. Your application may need to parse all these strings and convert them into proper numeric values. The static Parse method of the numeric classes, like int, double, decimal all accept a NumberStyles enumeration. This enumeration is located in the System.Globalization namespace.

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Getting the byte array of a string depending on Encoding in C# .NET

You can take any string in C# and view its byte array data depending on the Encoding type. You can get hold of the encoding type using the Encoding.GetEncoding method. Some frequently used code pages have their short-cuts:

  • Encoding.ASCII
  • Encoding.BigEndianUnicode
  • Encoding.Unicode – this is UTF16
  • Encoding.UTF7
  • Encoding.UTF32
  • Encoding.UTF8

Once you’ve got hold of an encoding you can call its GetBytes method to return the byte array representation of a string. You can use this method whenever another method requires a byte array input instead of a string.

For backward compatibility the positions 0-127 are the same in most encoding types. These cover the standard English alphabet – both lower and upper case -, the numbers, punctuation plus some other characters. So if you only take characters from this range then the byte values in the array will be the same. You can view the ASCII characters here: ASCII character set.

The following function will print the same values for both the ASCII and Chinese encoding types:

string input = "I am feeling great";
byte[] asciiEncoded = Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(input);
Console.WriteLine("Ascii");
foreach (byte b in asciiEncoded)
{
	Console.WriteLine(b);
}

Encoding chinese = Encoding.GetEncoding("Chinese");
byte[] chineseEncoded = chinese.GetBytes(input);
Console.WriteLine("Chinese");
foreach (byte b in chineseEncoded)
{
	Console.WriteLine(b);
}

If you’re trying to ASCII-encode a Unicode string which contains non-ASCII characters then you’ll get see the ASCII byte value of 63, i.e. ‘?’:

string input = "öåä I am feeling great";
byte[] asciiEncoded = Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(input);
Console.WriteLine("Ascii");
foreach (byte b in asciiEncoded)
{
	Console.WriteLine(b);
}

The first 3 positions will print 63 as the Swedish ‘öåä’ characters cannot be handled by ASCII. E.g. whenever you visit a website and see question marks and other funny characters instead of proper text then you know that there’s an encoding problem: the page has been encoded with an encoding type that’s not available on the user’s computer when viewed.

View all posts related to Globalization here.

Getting the list of supported Encoding types in .NET

Every text file and string is encoded using one of many encoding standards. Normally .NET will handle encoding automatically but there are times when you need to dig into the internals for encoding and decoding. It’s very simple to retrieve the list of supported encoding types, a.k.a code pages in .NET:

EncodingInfo[] codePages = Encoding.GetEncodings();
foreach (EncodingInfo codePage in codePages)
{
	Console.WriteLine("Code page ID: {0}, IANA name: {1}, human-friendly display name: {2}", codePage.CodePage, codePage.Name, codePage.DisplayName);
}

Example output:

Code page ID: 37, IANA name: IBM037, human-friendly display name: IBM EBCDIC (US-Canada)
Code page ID: 852, IANA name: ibm852, human-friendly display name: Central European (DOS)

View all posts related to Globalization here.

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