Greek & json_decode

I’m working on an Ancient Greek dictionary. To start, I have the following JSON file (UTF-8 with BOM):

	"βΒ", "γΓ", "δΔ",
	"κΚ", "λΛ", "μΜ", "νΝ", "ξΞ",
	"πΠ", "ρῥΡ", "σςΣ", "τΤ",
	"φΦ", "χΧ", "ψΨ",

It validates as JSON at jsonlint. Then I run the following PHP script:

$letters = file_get_contents("letters.json");
$letters = json_decode($letters);

The var_dump gives me a fat NULL. Am I doing something wrong, at some point? Something to do with character encoding, is my guess, but I’m at a loss.

I’m unable to reproduce your problem; running your example script against a copy of the JSON appears to work fine for me.

What version of PHP are you using? Can you attach a copy of the json file so we can reproduce your script more precisely? If you’re using PHP 5.3, what does json_last_error() say?

I tried your attachment, with a few small changes it works fine for me.

Make sure the page you’re outputting these on has proper encoding, e.g.:

header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8');

When I added this to sort.php and saved letters.json without a BOM, it displayed fine. I’ve reattached the changed files so you can study them.

array(25) {
  string(0) ""
  string(101) "αᾳἀἁάὰᾶᾀᾁᾴᾲᾷἄἂἆᾄᾂᾆἅἃἇᾅᾃᾇΑἈἉΆᾺἊἋἎἍἋἏ"
  string(4) "βΒ"
  string(4) "γΓ"
  string(4) "δΔ"
  string(50) "εἐἑέὲἔἒἕἓΕἘἙΈῈἜἚἝἛ"
  string(4) "ζΖ"
  string(101) "ηῃἠἡήὴῆᾐᾑῄῂῇἤἢἦᾔᾒᾖἥἣἧᾕᾓᾗΗἨἩΉῊἬἪἮἭἫἯ"
  string(4) "θΘ"
  string(65) "ιἰἱίὶῖἴἲἶἵἳἷΙἸἹΊῚἼἺἾἽἻἿ"
  string(4) "κΚ"
  string(4) "λΛ"
  string(4) "μΜ"
  string(4) "νΝ"
  string(4) "ξΞ"
  string(50) "οὀὁόὸὄὂὅὃΟὈὉΌῸὌὊὍὋ"
  string(4) "πΠ"
  string(7) "ρῥΡ"
  string(6) "σςΣ"
  string(4) "τΤ"
  string(41) "υὑύὺῦὕὓὗΥὙΎῪὝὛὟ"
  string(4) "φΦ"
  string(4) "χΧ"
  string(4) "ψΨ"
  string(101) "ωῳὠὡώὼῶᾠᾡῴῲῷὤὢὦᾤᾢᾦὥὣὧᾥᾣᾧΩὨὩΏῺὬὪὮὭὫὯ"

The characters are multibyte, so without the BOM, PHP parses them as different letters. It needs the BOM to know which bytes go together. (I actually don’t know anything about character encoding; I may have that completely wrong.)

If I just echo immediately after the “file_get_contents” (with the BOM), here’s what PHP gives me:

[ "", "αᾳἀἁάὰᾶᾀᾁᾴᾲᾷἄἂἆᾄᾂᾆἅἃἇᾅᾃᾇΑἈἉΆᾺἊἋἎἍἋἏ", "βΒ", "γΓ", "δΔ", "εἐἑέὲἔἒἕἓΕἘἙΈῈἜἚἝἛ", "ζΖ", "ηῃἠἡήὴῆᾐᾑῄῂῇἤἢἦᾔᾒᾖἥἣἧᾕᾓᾗΗἨἩΉῊἬἪἮἭἫἯ", "θΘ", "ιἰἱίὶῖἴἲἶἵἳἷΙἸἹΊῚἼἺἾἽἻἿ", "κΚ", "λΛ", "μΜ", "νΝ", "ξΞ", "οὀὁόὸὄὂὅὃΟὈὉΌῸὌὊὍὋ", "πΠ", "ρῥΡ", "σςΣ", "τΤ", "υὑύὺῦὕὓὗΥὙΎῪὝὛὟ", "φΦ", "χΧ", "ψΨ", "ωῳὠὡώὼῶᾠᾡῴῲῷὤὢὦᾤᾢᾦὥὣὧᾥᾣᾧΩὨὩΏῺὬὪὮὭὫὯ" ]

That looks good. It’s only when I try to “json_decode” it that things turn nasty. Perhaps I should just manipulate this string and run eval? (For example, str_replace the opening bracket to “$letters = array(”, etc.)

Have you tried removing the BOM (if possible)? Maybe that’s causing the json_decode to give errors.

It’s PHP 5.3.2 on Windows 7. The last error was “4,” which as far as I can tell is “JSON_ERROR_SYNTAX.”

(I think the files are attached, but I’m new to that; may have messed up.)