[Python-Dev] __str__ and unicode

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Wed Dec 6 10:46:34 CET 2006

On 2006-12-06 10:26, Fredrik Lundh wrote:
> over at my work copy of the python language reference, Adrian Holovaty
> asked about the exact semantics of the __str__ hook:
>     http://effbot.org/pyref/__str__
>    "The return value must be a string object." Does this mean it can be a
>    *Unicode* string object? This distinction is ambiguous to me because
>     unicode objects and string objects are both subclasses of basestring.
>     May a __str__() return a Unicode object?
> I seem to remember earlier discussions on this topic, but don't recall when
> and what.  From what I can tell, __str__ may return a Unicode object, but
> only if can be converted to an 8-bit string using the default encoding.  Is this
> on purpose or by accident?  Do we have a plan for improving the situation
> in future 2.X releases ?

This was added to make the transition to all Unicode in 3k easier:

.__str__() may return a string or Unicode object.

.__unicode__() must return a Unicode object.

There is no restriction on the content of the Unicode string
for .__str__().

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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