printing non-ASCII characters - please explain

Alex Martelli aleax at
Sun Jun 15 15:54:21 CEST 2003

Gerhard Häring wrote:

> Helmut Jarausch wrote:
>> Hi,
>> please explain the following difference to me (with cvs-python)
>> N='H\xf6fig'
>> print N
>> this prints Höfig     which contains the Germain umlaut 'ö' = oe = \xf6
>> but
>> print [N]
>> prints
>> ['H\xf6fig']
>> why
> Because print invokes repr() on the object to print.

str(), actually -- that's the reason the umlaut shows when you
just print N.

> repr for lists is implemented in C, but if it were written in Python, it
> would probably look like:
> #v+
> class list:
>      [...]
>      def __repr__(self):
>          return "[%s]" % ", ".join([repr(x) for x in self.items])
> #v-

Yes, and __str__ is much the same, which is where the problem comes in.
A list's __str__ calls repr(), NOT str(), on the items (because it's
felt that using an item's str() might be confusing if that item was a
string including commas, basically).

>> - and how can I change this?
> Use an explicit function to format the list how you want it to be. If
> you're not aware of the difference between str() and repr(), I'd
> recommend you look them up in the Python documentation.

Yes, this advice is indeed the only way to go.


More information about the Python-list mailing list