[Python-Dev] Why can't I encode/decode base64 without importing a module?

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Tue Apr 23 04:04:45 CEST 2013

On 23/04/13 09:16, Greg Ewing wrote:
> Victor Stinner wrote:
>> The last proposition is to add transform() and untransform() methods
>> to bytes and str types. ... If I remember
>> correctly, the missing point is how to define which types are
>> supported by a codec
> Also, for any given codec, which direction is "transform"
> and which is "untransform"?
> Also also, what's so special about base64 et al that they
> deserve an ultra-special way of invoking them, instead of
> having to import a class or function like you do for
> *every* *other* piece of library functionality?

As others have pointed out in the past, repeatedly, the codec system is completely general and can transform bytes->bytes and text->text just as easily as bytes<->text. Or indeed any bijection, as the docs for 2.7 point out. The question isn't "What's so special about base64?" The questions should be:

- What's so special about exotic legacy transformations like ISO-8859-10 and MacRoman that they deserve a string method for invoking them?

- Why have common transformations like base64, which worked in 2.x, been relegated to second-class status in 3.x?

- If it is no burden to have to import a module and call an external function for some transformations, why have encode and decode methods at all?

If you haven't read this, you should:



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