[Python-Dev] unifying str and unicode

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Tue Oct 4 01:35:57 CEST 2005

Martin Blais wrote:
> On 10/3/05, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:
>>>>If that's how things were designed, then Python's entire standard
>>>>brary (not to mention third-party libraries) is not "unicode safe" -
>>>>to quote your own words - since many functions may return 8-bit strings
>>>>containing non-ascii characters.
>>>huh?  first you talk about functions that convert unicode strings to 8-bit
>>>strings, now you talk about functions that return raw 8-bit strings?
>>Are you deliberately missing the argument?
>>And can't you understand that conversions are problematic in both
>>directions (str -> unicode /and/ unicode -> str)?
> Both directions are a problem.
> Just a note: it's not so much the conversions that I find problematic,
> but rather the implicit nature of the conversions (combined with the
> fact that they may fail).  In addition to being difficult to track
> down, these implicit conversions may be costing processing time as
> well.

We've already pointed you to a solution which you might want
to use. Why don't you just try it ?

BTW, if you want to read up on all the reasons why Unicode
was done the way it was, have a look at:


and read up in the python-dev archives:


and the next months after the initial checkin.

>From what I've read on the web about the Python Unicode
implementation we have one of the better ones compared
to other languages implementations and their choices and
design decisions.

None of them is perfect, but that's seems to be an inherent
problem with Unicode no matter how you try to approach it -
even more so, if you are trying to add it to a language that
has used ordinary C strings for text from day 1.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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