[Python-Dev] bytes.from_hex()

Greg Ewing greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Feb 21 10:57:31 CET 2006

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

> What I advocate for Python is to require that the standard base64
> codec be defined only on bytes, and always produce bytes.

I don't understand that. It seems quite clear to me that
base64 encoding (in the general sense of encoding, not the
unicode sense) takes binary data (bytes) and produces characters.
That's the whole point of base64 -- so you can send arbitrary
data over a channel that is only capable of dealing with

So in Py3k the correct usage would be

                   base64            unicode
                   encode            encode(x)
   original bytes --------> unicode ---------> bytes for transmission
                  <--------         <---------
                   base64            unicode
                   decode            decode(x)

where x is whatever unicode encoding the transmission
channel uses for characters (probably ascii or an ascii
superset, but not necessarily).

So, however it's spelled, the typing is such that

    base64_encode(bytes) --> unicode


    base64_decode(unicode) --> bytes


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