[Python-Dev] PEP 383: Non-decodable Bytes in System Character Interfaces

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Tue Apr 28 16:09:33 CEST 2009

Paul Moore writes:

 > But it seems to me that there is an assumption that problems will
 > arise when code gets a potentially funny-decoded string and doesn't
 > know where it came from.
 > Is that a real concern?

Yes, it's a real concern.  I don't think it's possible to show a small
piece of code one could point at and say "without a better API I bet
you can't write this correctly," though.  Rather, my experience with
Emacs and various mail packages is that without type information it is
impossible to keep track of the myriad bits and pieces of text that
are recombining like pig flu, and eventually one breaks out and causes
an error.  It's usually easy to fix, but so are the next hundred
similar regressions, and in the meantime a hundred users have suffered
more or less damage or at least annoyance.

There's no question that dealing with escapes of funny-decoded strings
to uprepared code paths is mission creep compared to Martin's stated
purpose for PEP 383, but it is also a real problem.

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