[Python-Dev] Why does base64 return bytes?

Joao S. O. Bueno jsbueno at python.org.br
Tue Jun 14 14:00:24 EDT 2016

On 14 June 2016 at 14:45, Random832 <random832 at fastmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 14, 2016, at 13:05, Joao S. O. Bueno wrote:
>> Sorry, it is 2016, and I don't think at this point anyone can consider
>> an ASCII string
>> as a representative pattern of textual data in any field of application.
>> Bytes are not text. Bytes with an associated, meaningful, encoding are
>> text.
>>   I thought this had been through when Python 3 was out.
> Of all the things that anyone has said in this thread, this makes the
> *least* contextual sense. The input to base64 encoding, which is what is
> under discussion, is not text in any way. It is images, it is zip files,
> it is executables, it could be the output of os.urandom (at least,
> provided it doesn't block ;) for all anyone cares.
> The *output* is only an ascii string in the sense that it is a text
> string consisting of characters within (a carefully chosen subset of)
> ASCII's repertoire, but the output wasn't what he was claiming should be
> bytes in the sentence you replied to. Is your objection to the phrase
> "ascii string"?
Sorry - everything I wrote, I was thinking about _decoding_ base 64.
As for the result of an encoded base64, yes, of course it fits into ASCII.

The arguments about compactness and what is most likely to happen
next applies (transmission trhough a binary network protocol),
 but the strong objection I had was just because I thought it was
a suggestion of decoding base 64 automatically to text without providing
a text encoding.

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