[Python-Dev] Why does base64 return bytes?

Toshio Kuratomi a.badger at gmail.com
Tue Jun 14 12:32:30 EDT 2016

On Jun 14, 2016 8:32 AM, "Joao S. O. Bueno" <jsbueno at python.org.br> wrote:
> On 14 June 2016 at 12:19, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
> > Is there
> > a good reason for returning bytes?
> What about: it returns 0-255 numeric values for each position in  a
stream, with
> no clue whatsoever to how those values map to text characters beyond
> the 32-128 range?
> Maybe base64.decode could take a "encoding" optional parameter - or
> there could  be
> a separate 'decote_to_text" method that would explicitly take a text
codec name.
> Otherwise, no, you simply can't take a bunch of bytes and say they
> represent text.
Although it's not explicit, the question seems to be about the output of
encoding (and for symmetry, the input of decoding).  In both of those
cases, valid output will consist only of ascii characters.

The input to encoding would have to remain bytes (that's the main purpose
of base64... to turn bytes into an ascii string).

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