[Python-Dev] Deprecate `from __future__ import unicode_literals`?

Robert Collins robertc at robertcollins.net
Fri Dec 16 14:49:07 EST 2016

On 17 December 2016 at 08:24, Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org> wrote:
> I am beginning to think that `from __future__ import unicode_literals` does
> more harm than good. I don't recall exactly why we introduced it, but with
> the restoration of u"" literals in Python 3.3 we have a much better story
> for writing straddling code that is unicode-correct.
> The problem is that the future import does both too much and not enough --
> it does too much because it changes literals to unicode even in contexts
> where there is no benefit (e.g. the argument to getattr() -- I still hear of
> code that breaks due to this occasionally) and at the same time it doesn't
> do anything for strings that you read from files, receive from the network,
> or even from other files that don't use the future import.
> I wonder if we can add an official note to the 2.7 docs recommending against
> it? (And maybe even to the 3.x docs if it's mentioned there at all.)

I think thats a good idea. I've found u"" to be entirely sufficient
and very robust.

Perhaps also have python2 -3 report on it?


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