[Python-Dev] sys.setdefaultencoding() vs. csv module + unicode

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Thu Jun 14 08:47:43 CEST 2007

> The csv module says it's not unicode safe but the 2.5 docs [3] have a
> workaround for this.  While the workaround says nothing about
> sys.setdefaultencoding() it simply does not work with the default
> encoding, "ascii."  Is this _the_ problem with the csv module?  Should
> I give up and use XML?  Below is code that works vs. code that
> doesn't.  Am I interpretting the workaround from the docs wrong?

These questions are off-topic for python-dev; please ask them on
comp.lang.python instead. python-dev is for the development *of*
Python, not for the development *with* Python.

> kumar$ python2.5
> Python 2.5 (r25:51918, Sep 19 2006, 08:49:13)
> [GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5341)] on darwin
>>>> import sys, csv, codecs
>>>> f = codecs.open('unicsv.csv','wb','utf-8')
>>>> w = csv.writer(f)
>>>> w.writerow([u'lang', u'espa\xa4ol'])

What you should do here is

def encoderow(r):
  return [s.encode("utf-8") for s in r])

f = open('unicsv.csv', 'wb', 'utf-8')
w = csv.writer(f)
w.writerow(encoderow([u'lang', u'espa\xa4ol'])

IOW, you need to encode *before* passing the strings
to the CSV module, not afterwards.

If it is too tedious for you to put in the encoderow
calls all the time, you can write a wrapper for CSV
writers which transparently encodes all Unicode


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