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How can I encode and decode percent-encoded (URL encoded) strings on the command line?

I'm looking for a solution that can do this:

$ percent-encode "ændrük"
$ percent-decode "%C3%A6ndr%C3%BCk"
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Do you want to incorporate different encodings too? %E6ndr%FCk doesn't look like (standard) UTF8 to me. Or it's just an example? –  arrange Jul 19 '11 at 21:13
@arrange Thanks for catching that. Apparently I chose the bad apple among search results for online converters. –  ændrük Jul 19 '11 at 21:49
For file names, see: How to remove URI encoding in file names. –  kenorb Feb 12 at 17:54

4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

These commands do what you want:

python -c "import urllib, sys; print urllib.quote(sys.argv[1])" æ
python -c "import urllib, sys; print urllib.unquote(sys.argv[1])" %C3%A6

If you want to encode spaces as +, replace urllib.quote with urllib.quote_plus.

I'm guessing you will want to alias them ;-)

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Using PHP you can try the following command:

$ echo oil+and+gas | php -r 'echo urldecode(fgets(STDIN));'
oil and gas

or just:

php -r 'echo urldecode("oil+and+gas");'

Use -R for multiple line input.

If you're in need to do the same but for file names, check: How to remove URI encoding in file names.

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I found a package, renameutils, that contain the utility deurlname that is able to rename a file containing "percent-encoded" characters.

Unfortunately, it does not decode stdin or a command line option, but only rename a file, so you have to create a dummy file to obtain the decoding (the name of the renamed file), but with some bash scripting the process can be automated.

No information about the encoding part, even because it could be questionable which characters to encode. Only non-ASCII?

I think there should be some better tool/method.

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Pure bash solution for decoding only:

$ a='%C3%A6ndr%C3%BCk'
$ echo -e "${a//%/\\x}"
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