Recently I mentioned a potential problem when saving source files in a non-Unicode charset encoding. The potential data loss is significant for large projects. After thinking about the problem a little more, I have a potential solution, a solution that allows you to save to a non-Unicode encoding but also prevents data loss.

You are familiar with \u notation for non-ascii characters in property files? I think the same encoding can work for non-ascii characters in any Java source file. I'm not suggesting that should be the preferred representation. I think the\u notation is only tolerable, something to be avoided whenever possible. However, in this situation -- saving files that were once in UTF-8 -- this might be the only option for storing the files without data loss.

Here's how it would work. First, NetBeans 6.1 uses UTF-8 for a project's default source code and configuration file encoding, an excellent choice by the way. So, now imagine that your source code has the Euro currency symbol in it. That's Unicode code pointU+20AC. And the character itself is this: