[erlang-questions] erlang's binary representation of 7 compared to other languages
Fri Jul 30 04:29:46 CEST 2010
The reason why Erlang doesn't specially recognise \a as 7 is that when
we added character escaping we tool the basic C set and used that.
IIRC \a wasn't in that set. To do it now would be to introduce
something which in not backwards compatible so not without its
problems. Although I think very few would be affected by it. Btw the 7
is BEL in the ascii characters, unfortunately \b is already taken.
On 30 July 2010 03:51, Woody Peterson <> wrote:
> Thanks for the quick reply! So you're saying erlang can't be made to
> recognize "\a"; any idea why "\07" and "\a" are considered equivalent, but
> the two languages chose incompatible representations? Or, if erlang can't
> parse "\a" (I was hoping for an option a la
> http://www.erlang.org/doc/programming_examples/bit_syntax.html#id2261157), I
> guess the simplest answer is how to get ruby to output "\07", which isn't on
> topic here.
> I'm always down for a quick fix, so I'll see if any rubyists know how to
> accomplish the latter, but I'm going to lose sleep if I don't know why the
> opposing designs exist in the first place :)
> On Jul 29, 2010, at 6:36 PM, Michael Truog wrote:
>> I think this is just because Erlang does not recognize the "\a" encoding
>> and instead just recognizes "a" ("\07" seems best in this case, and is
>> equivalent to "\a"):
>> 4> <<"\n">>.
>> 5> <<"\a">>.
>> 6> <<"\07">>.
>> - Michael
>> On 07/29/2010 06:19 PM, Woody Peterson wrote:
>>> I have a problem that's on the borders of ruby and erlang, and I
>>> figured the erlang list would generally be more familiar with binary
>>> issues. And forgive me for my haziness with the terminology here...
>>> The basic problem is that ruby encodes the integer 7 as "\a", while
>>> erlang only decodes it as "\007". Ruby *will* decode both "\007" and
>>> "\a" into 7, which makes me think there's more than one opinion about
>>> how it should be encoded.
>>> The bigger problem is I'm trying to send data from ruby to erlang via
>>> BERT, and turns out it can't handle data (broadly defined) of length 7.
>>> Here's some code examples:
>>> .pack("C") # => "\a"
>>> "\a".unpack("C") # => 7
>>> "\007".unpack("C") # => 7
>>> <<"\a">>. % => <<a>>
>>> <<"\007">>. % => <<7>>
>>> That's all I've got. Not sure exactly what to google here, "erlang OR
>>> ruby binary 007" doesn't really get me anywhere (suprise!), plus I'm
>>> not sure what exactly this encoding/decoding specification is called.
>>> Any help is appreciated, even google terms :p
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