Short solution for short problems

Degree symbol gets converted into a strange symbol.

I was developing an application to read the html from a given URL and get some text out of it. The application was for temperature (using degree Celsius) meters that post their findings on a simple html page. Since the structure is configurable, we had to look for a dynamic solution. So we get the html and look for a string that is between 2 given tags.

All went well until I had some troubles with the WebClient.DownloadString method. It works the first time, but hangs the second time. So I decided to use a streamreader on the webresponse.

This works good, you can close the connections and read as much as you like. But then I figured out that the degree sign: ° was converted into some weird symbol.

The reason was that if you do not use a specific encoding for the stream reader, it uses utf-8 encoding, which replaces the degree sign. The solution is simple, but it took me a while to find out which encoding did the trick. At the end it was the Default encoding that worked for me!

He is the code example:

    Private Function GetHTML() As String

        Dim urlCheck As Uri = New Uri(txtUrl.Text)

        Dim request As HttpWebRequest = CType(WebRequest.Create(urlCheck), HttpWebRequest)

        'Timeout is set to 3 seconds.

        request.Timeout = 3000

        Dim sb As StringBuilder = New StringBuilder

        Dim response As HttpWebResponse


            'If the url doesn't exist the exeption will be thrown after 2 seconds.

            'This will prevent your system from hanging.

            response = CType(request.GetResponse(), HttpWebResponse)

            If response.StatusCode = HttpStatusCode.Found Or response.StatusCode = HttpStatusCode.OK Then

                 Dim receiveStream As Stream = response.GetResponseStream()

                Dim encode As Encoding = System.Text.Encoding.Default

                ' Pipes the response stream to a higher level stream reader with the required encoding format.

                Dim readStream As New StreamReader(receiveStream, encode)

                Dim read(256) As [Char]

                ' Reads 256 characters at a time.   

                Dim count As Integer = readStream.Read(read, 0, 256)

                While count > 0

                    ' Dumps the 256 characters to a string and displays the string to the console.

                    Dim str As New [String](read, 0, count)


                    count = readStream.Read(read, 0, 256)

                End While

                ' Releases the resources of the Stream.


                ' Releases the resources of the response.


            End If


            Return sb.ToString

        Catch ex As Exception

            'If the site is not found, then an exception will be trown

            Return "No response"

        End Try

    End Function