[Python-Dev] Changes in html.parser may cause breakage in client code

Vinay Sajip vinay_sajip at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Apr 26 21:10:48 CEST 2012

Following recent changes in html.parser, the Python 3 port of Django I'm working
on has started failing while parsing HTML.

The reason appears to be that Django uses some module-level data in html.parser,
for example tagfind, which is a regular expression pattern. This has changed
recently (Ezio changed it in ba4baaddac8d).

Now tagfind (and other such patterns) are not marked as private (though not
documented), but should they be? The following script (tagfind.py):

    import html.parser as Parser

    data = '<select name="stuff">'

    m = Parser.tagfind.match(data, 1)
    print('%r -> %r' % (Parser.tagfind.pattern, data[1:m.end()]))

gives different results on 3.2 and 3.3:

    $ python3.2 tagfind.py
    '[a-zA-Z][-.a-zA-Z0-9:_]*' -> 'select'
    $ python3.3 tagfind.py
    '([a-zA-Z][-.a-zA-Z0-9:_]*)(?:\\s|/(?!>))*' -> 'select '

The trailing space later causes a mismatch with the end tag, and leads to the
errors. Django's use of the tagfind pattern is in a subclass of HTMLParser, in
an overridden parse_startag method.

Do we need to indicate more strongly that data like tagfind are private? Or has
the change introduced inadvertent breakage, requiring a fix in Python?


Vinay Sajip

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