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bug#22901: drain-input doesn't decode

From: Zefram
Subject: bug#22901: drain-input doesn't decode
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2016 03:09:44 +0000

The documentation for drain-input says that it returns a string of
characters, implying that the result is equivalent to what you'd get
from calling read-char some number of times.  In fact it differs in a
significant respect: whereas read-char decodes input octets according to
the port's selected encoding, drain-input ignores the selected encoding
and always decodes according to ISO-8859-1 (thus preserving the octet
values in character form).

$ echo -n $'\1a\2b\3c' | guile-2.0 -c '(set-port-encoding! (current-input-port) 
"UCS-2BE") (write (port-encoding (current-input-port))) (newline) (write (map 
char->integer (let r ((l '\''())) (let ((c (read-char (current-input-port)))) 
(if (eof-object? c) (reverse l) (r (cons c l))))))) (newline)'
(353 610 867)
$ echo -n $'\1a\2b\3c' | guile-2.0 -c '(set-port-encoding! (current-input-port) 
"UCS-2BE") (write (port-encoding (current-input-port))) (newline) (peek-char 
(current-input-port)) (write (map char->integer (string->list (drain-input 
(current-input-port))))) (newline)'
(1 97 2 98 3 99)

The practical upshot is that the input returned by drain-input can't
be used in the same way as regular input from read-char.  It can still
be used if the code doing the reading is totally aware of the encoding,
so that it can perform the decoding manually, but this seems a failure
of abstraction.  The value returned by drain-input ought to be coherent
with the abstraction level at which it is specified.

I can see that there is a reason for drain-input to avoid performing
decoding: the problem that occurs if the buffer ends in the middle
of a character.  If drain-input is to return decoded characters then
presumably in this case it would have to read further octets beyond the
buffer contents, in an unbuffered manner, until it reaches a character
boundary.  If this is too unpalatable, perhaps drain-input should be
permitted only on ports configured for single-octet character encodings.

If, on the other hand, it is decided to endorse the current non-decoding
behaviour, then the break of abstraction needs to be documented.


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