[Python-Dev] Why doesn't the uu module give you the filename?

Daniel Berlin dberlin@dberlin.org
Sun, 27 Apr 2003 11:49:02 -0400

While it's simple enough to get the uu module to uudecode a string 
(using StringIO), it's impossible to get it to handle you the filename 
the uuencoded thing specifies.

IE given

begin 644 a.ii.gz

Their is no way to get the decode function to tell you the thing is 
named a.ii.gz.
Of course, it uses this filename itself in creating an output file if 
you don't specify one.  It just won't tell *you* what the filename is.
I could just give it no output file, and let it create it, then 
determine the name of the file it created, but this seems like a very 
large kludge.
Besides, I am decoding from/to a string, in memory. I don't want to 
start have it write things to the disk for no reason.

The context of all of this is that I have a program that is converting 
text that possibly contains uuencoded attachments into a bunch of SQL 
statements to insert into a database (It's converting a GNATS bug 
database to a Bugzilla one. It's a rewrite of an incredibly ugly, slow, 
barely functional perl script that spews errors at random and leaks 
memory for no reason :P).
I had to cut/paste the decode function from the uu module into a new 
module and make it return the filename, just so that i could get access 
to it.
This seems a bit silly.
The decode function has no return value right now, so giving it one 
shouldn't break existing applications (since none of them should be 
expecting it to return anything).
I believe it should return the filename specified in the begin line.

As an added bonus, it would be even nicer if it also returned the start 
and end position of the decoded portion inside the input text.  that 
way if one wants to replace the entire uuencoded text with something 
like, say, "See bug attachments for <filename>", you can do it easily. 

As i said, i've got a version of uu.decode that does all of this, i'll 
happily submit it as a patch if people agree i'm right.