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Text::Iconv - Perl interface to iconv() codeset conversion function


  use Text::Iconv;
  $converter = Text::Iconv->new("fromcode", "tocode");
  $converted = $converter->convert("Text to convert");


The Text::Iconv module provides a Perl interface to the iconv() function as defined by the Single UNIX Specification. The convert() method converts the encoding of characters in the input string from the fromcode codeset to the tocode codeset, and returns the result.

Settings of fromcode and tocode and their permitted combinations are implementation-dependent. Valid values are specified in the system documentation

As an experimental feature, this version of Text::Iconv objects provide the retval() method:

  $result = $converter->convert("lorem ipsum dolor sit amet");
  $retval = $converter->retval;

This method can be called after calling convert(). It returns the return value of the underlying iconv() function for the last conversion; according to the Single UNIX Specification, this value indicates "the number of non-identical conversions performed." Note, however, that iconv implementations vary widely in the interpretation of this specification.

When called before the first call to convert(), or if an error occured during the conversion, retval() returns undef.


If the conversion can't be initialized an exception is raised (using croak()).

Handling of conversion errors

Text::Iconv provides a class attribute raise_error and a corresponding class method for setting and getting its value. The handling of errors during conversion depends on the setting of this attribute. If raise_error is set to a true value, an exception is raised; otherwise, the convert() method only returns undef. By default raise_error is false. Example usage:

  Text::Iconv->raise_error(1);     # Conversion errors raise exceptions
  Text::Iconv->raise_error(0);     # Conversion errors return undef
  $a = Text::Iconv->raise_error(); # Get current setting

Per-object handling of conversion errors

As an experimental feature, Text::Iconv also provides an instance attribute raise_error and a corresponding method for setting and getting its value. If raise_error is undef, the class-wide settings apply. If raise_error is 1 or 0 (true or false), the object settings override the class-wide settings.

Consult iconv(3) for details on errors that might occur.

Conversion of undef

Converting undef, e.g.,

  $converted = $converter->convert(undef);

always returns undef. This is not considered an error.


The supported codesets, their names, the supported conversions, and the quality of the conversions are all system-dependent.


Michael Piotrowski <>


iconv(1), iconv(3)