The common method of conversions from one code set to another is through a table-driven method. In some cases, these tables may be too large, hence an algorithmic method may be more desirable. To accommodate such diverse requirements, a framework is defined in XPG4 for code set conversions. In this framework, to convert from one code set to another, open a converter, perform the conversions, and close the converter. The iconv() functions are iconv_open(), iconv(), and iconv_close().
Code set converters are brought under the framework of the iconv_open(), iconv(), and iconv_close() set of functions. With these functions, it is possible to provide and to use several different types of converters. Applications can call these functions to convert characters in one code set into characters in another code set. With the advent of the iconv()> framework, converters can be provided in a uniform manner. The access and use of these converters is being standardized under X/Open XPG4.