[Chicago] understanding unicode problems

Carl Karsten carl at personnelware.com
Fri Nov 16 00:04:53 CET 2007

Kumar McMillan wrote:
> On Nov 15, 2007 4:13 PM, Carl Karsten <carl at personnelware.com> wrote:
>> of course now a unicode problem just hit me.
>> i use the  django admin to enter  Ivan Krstic'
>> and reportlab spits out: http://dev.personnelware.com/carl/a/IvanK1.pdf
>> so pretty much 100% python.
>> I am told:
>>  > Make sure that you are using utf-8 and not some other encoding, such as
>>  > latin-1.
>> But I really don't know what that means, nor do I even know how to debug this.
> I wrote up a little something about it when it finally clicked for me:
> http://farmdev.com/thoughts/23/what-i-thought-i-knew-about-unicode-in-python-amounted-to-nothing/
> (I was in the same spot, I knew I *should* use UTF-8 but wasn't sure
> how or why or what that even implied)


> In my email reader the name shows up as Ivan Krstic' (with a single
> quote at the end) so I'm not sure what character is really at the end
> of his name but  .... if Django is dealing with unicode now (which
> Feihong says it is) then you probably just need to encode it into a
> UTF-8 bytestream before you write to the PDF file.  I.E. pdf.write("%s
> %s" % (first_name.encode('utf-8'), last_name.encode('utf-8')). 

'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xc4 in position 10: ordinal not in range(128)

  981. # draw the string using the function that matches the alignment:
  982. s = obj.getProp("expr", returnException=True)
  984. if isinstance(s, basestring):

  985. s = s.encode(self.Encoding) ...

  986. else:
  987. s = unicode(s)
  988. func(posx, 0, s)

Will that ever hit the else case?

Carl K

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