[Python-Dev] Re: Allowing u.encode() to return non-strings

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Wed Jun 30 13:10:39 EDT 2004

Terry Reedy wrote:
> Python strings are sequences of 0 to n chars from an abstract 256-char
> alphabet.  This meets my understanding of the standard 20th century CS
> definition of string.  Has there been a significant change in the last few
> years?

Yes. Abstract 256-char alphabets have been found useless for the 
representation of natural-language text. You need concrete alphabets,
and having more than 256 characters is often important.

> The byte set is intentionally not any *particular* natural language char
> set, but a possible carrier for any of them.  Perhaps unfortunately, it
> lacks a single standard glyph set or graphic representation., but I believe
> Unicode also differentiates between characters (code points?) and glyphs
> (which are also not standardized).  

Yes. But Unicode does define concrete characters - even if it leaves
the choice of glyphs.


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