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

Jelle Zijlstra jelle.zijlstra at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 18:09:11 EST 2016

I've actually found unicode_literals useful in getting code to be Python
2/3-compatible. I try to use a Python 3-like model of always using unicode
for text data and only using str for binary data, and unicode_literals
helps achieve that, since most string literals are meant to be text, not
binary data. The issue with functions like getattr is annoying, but in my
experience it's not a common problem (I don't often call getattr() with a
string literal as an argument).

2016-12-16 14:56 GMT-08:00 Raymond Hettinger <raymond.hettinger at gmail.com>:

> > On Dec 16, 2016, at 11:24 AM, 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.)
> +1  Leaving it in place will likely cause more problems than it solves, so
> I think your suggest is a net win even if there is some bit of disruption.
> Also, as far as I can tell, the adoption rate of Python 3.2 was very low.
> Python 3's story didn't become attractive until later.
> Raymond
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