[Python-Dev] Support for "wide" Unicode characters

Paul Prescod paulp@ActiveState.com
Sat, 30 Jun 2001 12:09:07 -0700

Aahz Maruch wrote:
> After reading Michael's and MA's arguments, I'm +1 on making the change
> they're requesting.  But what really triggered my posting this was your
> use of the phrase "common understanding"; IME, Python's "explicit is
> better than implicit" rule is truly critical in documentation.

The spec starts of with an absolutely water tight definition of the

"the addressable units of a Python Unicode string."

I can't get more explicit than that. Expanding every usage of the word
to "length 1 Python Unicode string" does not make the document more
explicit any more than this is a "more explicit" equation than Ensteins:

"The Energy is the mass of the object times the speed of light times

> Particularly if "character" has been deprecated in standard Unicode
> documentation, I think sticking to a common vocabulary makes more sense.

"Character" is still a central term in all unicode documentation. Go to
their web page and look. It's right on the front page. "Unicode provides
a unique number for every character, no matter what the platform, no
matter what the program, no matter what the language."

But I'm not using it in the Unicode sense anyhow, so it doesn't matter.
If ISO deprecates the use of the word integer in some standard will we
stop talking about Python integers as integers? The addressable unit of
a Python string is a character. If it is a Python Unicode String then it
is a Python Unicode character. 

The term "Python Unicode character" is not going away:


I will be alot more concerned about this issue when someone reads the
PEP and is actually confused by something as opposed to worrying that
somebody might be confused by something. If I start using a bunch of
technical terms and obfuscatory expansions, it will just dissuade people
from reading the PEP.
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