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

Antoine Pitrou solipsis at pitrou.net
Thu Apr 25 11:25:36 CEST 2013

Le Thu, 25 Apr 2013 08:38:12 +0200,
Lennart Regebro <regebro at gmail.com> a écrit :
> On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 7:43 AM, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net>
> wrote:
> > On Thu, 25 Apr 2013 04:19:36 +0200
> > Lennart Regebro <regebro at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 3:54 AM, Stephen J. Turnbull
> >> <stephen at xemacs.org> wrote:
> >> > RFC 4648 repeatedly refers to *characters*, without specifying an
> >> > encoding for them.
> > [...]
> >>
> >> Base64 is an encoding that transforms between 8-bit streams.
> >
> > No, it isn't. What Stephen wrote above.
> Yes it is. Base64 takes 8-bit bytes and transforms them into another
> 8-bit stream that can be safely transmitted over various channels that
> would mangle an unencoded 8-bit stream, such as email etc.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base64

I don't see anything in that Wikipedia page that validates your opinion.
The Wikipedia page does talk about *text* and *characters* for
the result of base64 encoding.

Besides, I would consider a RFC more authoritative than a
Wikipedia definition.

> > By the same argument, we should suppress any
> > encoding which isn't able to represent all possible unicode strings.
> No, if you explicitly use such an encoding it is because you need to
> because you are transferring data to a system that needs the encoding
> in question. Unicode errors are unavoidable at that point, not an
> unexpected surprise because a conversion happened implicitly that you
> didn't know about.

I don't know what "implicit conversion" you are talking about. There's
no "implicit conversion" in a scheme where the result of base64
encoding is a text string.



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