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URL Encoding/Decoding in C

Recently I had the need to encode and decode URL-encoded strings. After doing a brief search of what was available, I found that most of the code I was seeing wasn't terribly efficient and/or was rather poorly written. I decided to whip up my own routines and am sharing them here.

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To the extent possible under law, Fred Bulback has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to URL Encoding/Decoding in C. This work is published from: United States.


/* Converts a hex character to its integer value */
char from_hex(char ch) {
  return isdigit(ch) ? ch - '0' : tolower(ch) - 'a' + 10;
}

/* Converts an integer value to its hex character*/
char to_hex(char code) {
  static char hex[] = "0123456789abcdef";
  return hex[code & 15];
}

/* Returns a url-encoded version of str */
/* IMPORTANT: be sure to free() the returned string after use */
char *url_encode(char *str) {
  char *pstr = str, *buf = malloc(strlen(str) * 3 + 1), *pbuf = buf;
  while (*pstr) {
    if (isalnum(*pstr) || *pstr == '-' || *pstr == '_' || *pstr == '.' || *pstr == '~') 
      *pbuf++ = *pstr;
    else if (*pstr == ' ') 
      *pbuf++ = '+';
    else 
      *pbuf++ = '%', *pbuf++ = to_hex(*pstr >> 4), *pbuf++ = to_hex(*pstr & 15);
    pstr++;
  }
  *pbuf = '\0';
  return buf;
}

/* Returns a url-decoded version of str */
/* IMPORTANT: be sure to free() the returned string after use */
char *url_decode(char *str) {
  char *pstr = str, *buf = malloc(strlen(str) + 1), *pbuf = buf;
  while (*pstr) {
    if (*pstr == '%') {
      if (pstr[1] && pstr[2]) {
        *pbuf++ = from_hex(pstr[1]) << 4 | from_hex(pstr[2]);
        pstr += 2;
      }
    } else if (*pstr == '+') { 
      *pbuf++ = ' ';
    } else {
      *pbuf++ = *pstr;
    }
    pstr++;
  }
  *pbuf = '\0';
  return buf;
}

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