[Python-Dev] File encodings

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Tue Nov 30 09:44:05 CET 2004

Gustavo Niemeyer wrote:
> Given the fact that files have an 'encoding' parameter, and that
> any unicode strings with characters not in the 0-127 range will
> raise an exception if being written to files, isn't it reasonable
> to respect the 'encoding' attribute whenever writing data to a
> file?

In general, files don't have an encoding parameter - sys.stdout
is an exception.

The reason why this works for print and not for write is that
I considered "print unicodeobject" important, and wanted to
implement that. file.write is an entirely different code path,
so it doesn't currently consider Unicode objects; instead, it
only supports strings (or, more generally, buffers).

 > This difference may become a really annoying problem when trying to
 > internationalize programs, since it's usual to see third-party code
 > dealing with sys.stdout, instead of using 'print'.

Apparently, it isn't important enough that somebody had analysed this,
and offered a patch. In any case, it would be quite unreliable to
pass unicode strings to .write even *if* .write supported .encoding,
since most files don't have .encoding. Even sys.stdout does not
always have .encoding - only when it is a terminal, and only if we
managed to find out what the encoding of the terminal is.


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