Programming language: Go
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 or later

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Cgo binding for icu4c C library detection and conversion functions. Guaranteed compatibility with version 50.1.


Installation consists of several simple steps. They may be a bit different on your target system (e.g. require more permissions) so adapt them to the parameters of your system.

Install build-essential

Make sure you have build-essential installed. Otherwise icu would fail on the configuration stage.

Installation example using apt-get (Ubuntu):

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Install pkg-config

Make sure you have pkg-config installed.

Installation example using apt-get (Ubuntu):

sudo apt-get install pkg-config

Get icu4c C library code

Download and unarchive original icu4c archive from icu download section.

Example (for version 50.1):

wget http://download.icu-project.org/files/icu4c/50.1/icu4c-50_1-src.tgz
tar -zxvf icu4c-50_1-src.tgz
mv -i ./icu ~/where-you-store-libs

NOTE: If this link is not working or there are some problems with downloading, there is a stable version 50.1 snapshot saved in Github Downloads.

Build and install icu4c C library

From the directory, where you unarchived icu4c, run:

cd source
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Install Go wrapper

go get github.com/goodsign/icu
go test github.com/goodsign/icu (must PASS)

Installation notes

  • Make sure that you have your local library paths set correctly and that installation was successful. Otherwise, go build or go test may fail.

  • icu4c is installed in your local library directory (e.g. /usr/local/lib) and puts its libraries there. This path should be registered in your system (using ldconfig or exporting LD_LIBRARY_PATH, etc.) or the linker would fail.

  • icu4c installs its header files to local include folders (e.g. /usr/local/include/unicode) so there is no need to have additional .h files with this package, but the system must be properly set up to detect .h files in those directories.


Note: check icu documentation for returned encoding identifiers.


// Create detector
detector, err := NewCharsetDetector()

if err != nil {
    //... Handle error ...
defer detector.Close()

// Guess encoding
encMatches, err := detector.GuessCharset(encodedText)

if err != nil {
    //... Handle error ...

// Get charset with max confidence (goes first)
maxenc := encMatches[0].Charset

// Use maxenc. 
// ...



// Create converter
converter := NewCharsetConverter(DefaultMaxTextSize)

// Convert to utf-8
converted, err := converter.ConvertToUtf8(encodedText, maxenc)

if nil != err {
    //... Handle error ...

Usage notes

  • Check NewCharsetConverter func comments for details on max text size parameter.
  • Often you would use detector and converter in pair. So, the 'converter' usage example actually continues the 'detector' example and uses the 'maxenc' result from it.

More info

For more information on icu refer to the original website, which contains links on theory and other details.

icu4c Licence

ICU is released under a nonrestrictive open source license that is suitable for use with both commercial software and with other open source or free software.



The goodsign/icu binding is released under the BSD Licence


*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the icu README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.