File::BOM - Utilities for handling Byte Order Marks

        use File::BOM qw( :all )

  high-level functions
        # read a file with encoding from the BOM:
        open_bom(FH, $file)
        open_bom(FH, $file, ':utf8') # the same but with a default encoding

        # get encoding too
        $encoding = open_bom(FH, $file, ':utf8');

        # open a potentially unseekable file:
        ($encoding, $spillage) = open_bom(FH, $file, ':utf8');

        # change encoding of an open handle according to BOM
        $encoding = defuse(*HANDLE);
        ($encoding, $spillage) = defuse(*HANDLE);

        # Decode a string according to leading BOM:
        $unicode = decode_from_bom($string_with_bom);
        # Decode a string and get the encoding:
        ($unicode, $encoding) = decode_from_bom($string_with_bom)

  PerlIO::via interface
        # Read the Right Thing from a unicode file with BOM:
        open(HANDLE, '<:via(File::BOM)', $filename)

        # Writing little-endian UTF-16 file with BOM:
        open(HANDLE, '>:encoding(UTF-16LE):via(File::BOM)', $filename)

  lower-level functions
        # read BOM encoding from a filehandle:
        $encoding = get_encoding_from_filehandle(FH)

        # Get encoding even if FH is unseekable:
        ($encoding, $spillage) = get_encoding_from_filehandle(FH);

        # Get encoding from a known unseekable handle:
        ($encdoing, $spillage) = get_encoding_from_stream(FH);

        # get encoding and BOM length from BOM at start of string:
        ($encoding, $offset) = get_encoding_from_bom($string);

        # print a BOM for a known encoding
        print FH $enc2bom{$encoding};

        # get an encoding from a known BOM
        $enc = $bom2enc{$bom}

    This module provides functions for handling unicode byte order marks,
    which are to be found at the beginning of some files and streams.

    For details about what a byte order mark is, see

    The intention of File::BOM is for files with BOMs to be readable as
    seamlessly as possible, regardless of the encoding used. To that end,
    several different interfaces are available, as shown in the synopsis

    Nothing by default.

    *   open_bom()

    *   defuse()

    *   decode_from_bom()

    *   get_encoding_from_filehandle()

    *   get_encoding_from_stream()

    *   get_encoding_from_bom()

    *   %bom2enc

    *   %enc2bom

    *   :all

        All of the above

    *   :subs

        subroutines only

    *   :vars

        just %bom2enc and %enc2bom

    Maps Byte Order marks to their encodings.

    The keys of this hash are strings which represent the BOMs, the values
    are their encodings, in a format which is understood by Encode

    The encodings represented in this hash are: UTF-8, UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE,
    UTF-32BE and UTF-32LE

    A reverse-lookup hash for bom2enc, with a few aliases used in Encode,
    namely utf8, iso-10646-1 and UCS-2.

    Note that UTF-16, UTF-32 and UCS-4 are not included in this hash. Mainly
    because Encode::encode automatically puts BOMs on output. See

        $encoding = open_bom(HANDLE, $filename, $default_mode)

        ($encoding, $spill) = open_bom(HANDLE, $filename, $default_mode)

    opens HANDLE for reading on $filename, setting the mode to the
    appropriate encoding for the BOM stored in the file.

    On failure, a fatal error is raised, see the DIAGNOSTICS section for
    details on how to catch these. This is in order to allow the return
    value(s) to be used for other purposes.

    If the file doesn't contain a BOM, $default_mode is used instead. Hence:

        open_bom(FH, 'my_file.txt', ':utf8')

    Opens my_file.txt for reading in an appropriate encoding found from the
    BOM in that file, or as a UTF-8 file if none is found.

    In the absence of a $default_mode argument, the following 2 calls should
    be equivalent:

        open_bom(FH, 'no_bom.txt');

        open(FH, '<', 'no_bom.txt');

    If an undefined value is passed as the handle, a symbol will be
    generated for it like open() does:

        # create filehandle on the fly
        $enc = open_bom(my $fh, $filename, ':utf8');
        $line = <$fh>;

    The filehandle will be cued up to read after the BOM. Unseekable files
    (e.g. fifos) will cause croaking, unless called in list context to catch
    spillage from the handle. Any spillage will be automatically decoded
    from the encoding, if found.


        # croak if my_socket is unseekable
        open_bom(FH, 'my_socket');

        # keep spillage if my_socket is unseekable
        ($encoding, $spillage) = open_bom(FH, 'my_socket');

        # discard any spillage from open_bom
        ($encoding) = open_bom(FH, 'my_socket');

        $enc = defuse(FH);

        ($enc, $spill) = defuse(FH);

    FH should be a filehandle opened for reading, it will have the relevant
    encoding layer pushed onto it be binmode if a BOM is found. Spillage
    should be Unicode, not bytes.

    Any uncaptured spillage will be silently lost. If the handle is
    unseekable, use list context to avoid data loss.

    If no BOM is found, the mode will be unaffected.

        $unicode_string = decode_from_bom($string, $default, $check)

        ($unicode_string, $encoding) = decode_from_bom($string, $default, $check)

    Reads a BOM from the beginning of $string, decodes $string (minus the
    BOM) and returns it to you as a perl unicode string.

    if $string doesn't have a BOM, $default is used instead.

    $check, if supplied, is passed to Encode::decode as the third argument.

    If there's no BOM and no default, the original string is returned and
    encoding is ''.

    See Encode

        $encoding = get_encoding_from_filehandle(HANDLE)

        ($encoding, $spillage) = get_encoding_from_filehandle(HANDLE)

    Returns the encoding found in the given filehandle.

    The handle should be opened in a non-unicode way (e.g. mode '<:bytes')
    so that the BOM can be read in its natural state.

    After calling, the handle will be set to read at a point after the BOM
    (or at the beginning of the file if no BOM was found)

    If called in scalar context, unseekable handles cause a croak().

    If called in list context, unseekable handles will be read byte-by-byte
    and any spillage will be returned. See get_encoding_from_stream()

        ($encoding, $spillage) = get_encoding_from_stream(*FH);

    Read a BOM from an unrewindable source. This means reading the stream
    one byte at a time until either a BOM is found or every possible BOM is
    ruled out. Any non-BOM bytes read from the handle will be returned in

    If a BOM is found and the spillage contains a partial character (judging
    by the expected character width for the encoding) more bytes will be
    read from the handle to ensure that a complete character is returned.

    Spillage is always in bytes, not characters.

    This function is less efficient than get_encoding_from_filehandle, but
    should work just as well on a seekable handle as on an unseekable one.

        ($encoding, $offset) = get_encoding_from_bom($string)

    Returns the encoding and length in bytes of the BOM in $string.

    If there is no BOM, an empty string is returned and $offset is zero.

    To get the data from the string, the following should work:

        use Encode;

        my($encoding, $offset) = get_encoding_from_bom($string);

        if ($encoding) {
            $string = decode($encoding, substr($string, $offset))

PerlIO::via interface
    File::BOM can be used as a PerlIO::via interface.

        open(HANDLE, '<:via(File::BOM)', 'my_file.txt');

        open(HANDLE, '>:encoding(UTF-16LE):via(File::BOM)', 'out_file.txt');
        print "foo\n"; # BOM is written to file here

    This method is less prone to errors on non-seekable files as spillage is
    incorporated into an internal buffer, but it doesn't give you any
    information about the encoding being used, or indeed whether or not a
    BOM was present.

    There are a few known problems with this interface, especially
    surrounding seek() and tell(), please see the BUGS section for more
    details about this.

    The via(File::BOM) layer must be added before the handle is read from,
    otherwise any BOM will be missed. If there is no BOM, no decoding will
    be done.

    Because of a limitation in PerlIO::via, read() always works on bytes,
    not characters. BOM decoding will still be done but output will be bytes
    of UTF-8.

        open(BOM, '<:via(File::BOM)', $file);
        $bytes_read = read(BOM, $buffer, $length);
        $unicode = decode('UTF-8', $buffer, Encode::FB_QUIET);

        # Now $unicode is valid unicode and $buffer contains any left-over bytes

    Add the via(File::BOM) layer on top of a unicode encoding layer to print
    a BOM at the start of the output file. This needs to be done before any
    data is written. The BOM is written as part of the first print command
    on the handle, so if you don't print anything to the handle, you won't
    get a BOM.

    There is a "Wide character in print" warning generated when the
    via(File::BOM) layer doesn't receive utf8 on writing. This glitch was
    resolved in perl version 5.8.7, but if your perl version is older than
    that, you'll need to make sure that the via(File::BOM) layer receives
    utf8 like this:

        # This works OK
        open(FH, '>:encoding(UTF-16LE):via(File::BOM):utf8', $filename)

        # This generates warnings with older perls
        open(FH, '>:encoding(UTF-16LE):via(File::BOM)', $filename)

    Seeking with SEEK_SET results in an offset equal to the length of any
    detected BOM being applied to the position parameter. Thus:

        # Seek to end of BOM (not start of file!)
        seek(FILE_BOM_HANDLE, 0, SEEK_SET)

    In order to work correctly with seek(), tell() also returns a postion
    adjusted by the length of the BOM.

    *   Encode

    *   Encode::Unicode

    *   <>

    The following exceptions are raised via croak()

    *   Couldn't read '<filename>': $!

        open_bom() couldn't open the given file for reading

    *   Couldn't set binmode of handle opened on '<filename>' to '<mode>':

        open_bom() couldn't set the binmode of the handle

    *   No string

        decode_from_bom called on an undefined value

    *   Unseekable handle: $!

        get_encoding_from_filehandle() or open_bom() called on an unseekable
        file or handle in scalar context.

    *   Couldn't read from handle: $!

        _get_encoding_seekable() couldn't read the handle. This function is
        called from get_encoding_from_filehandle(), defuse() and open_bom()

    *   Couldn't reset read position: $!

        _get_encoding_seekable couldn't seek to the position after the BOM.

    *   Couldn't read byte: $!

        get_encoding_from_stream couldn't read from the handle. This
        function is called from get_encoding_from_filehandle() and
        open_bom() when the handle or file is unseekable.

    Older versions of PerlIO::via have a few problems with writing, see

    The current version of PerlIO::via has limitations with regard to seek
    and tell, currently only line-wise seek and tell are supported by this
    module. If read() is used to read partial lines, tell() will still give
    the position of the end of the last line read.

    Under windows, tell() seems to return erroneously when reading files
    with unix line endings.

    Under windows, warnings may be generated when using the PerlIO::via
    interface to read UTF-16LE and UTF-32LE encoded files. This seems to be
    a bug in the relevant encoding(...) layers.

    Matt Lawrence <>

    With thanks to Mark Fowler and Steve Purkis for additional tests and

    Copyright 2005 Matt Lawrence, All Rights Reserved.

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
    under the same terms as Perl itself.