character encoding conversion

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at
Sun Dec 12 17:51:37 CET 2004

Dylan wrote:
> Things I have tried include encode()/decode()

This should work. If you somehow manage to guess the encoding,
e.g. guess it as cp1252, then

   htmlstring.decode("cp1252").encode("us-ascii", "xmlcharrefreplace")

will give you a file that contains only ASCII characters, and
character references for everything else.

Now, how should you guess the encoding? Here is a strategy:
1. use the encoding that was sent through the HTTP header. Be
    absolutely certain to not ignore this encoding.
2. use the encoding in the XML declaration (if any).
3. use the encoding in the http-equiv meta element (if any)
4. use UTF-8
5. use Latin-1, and check that there are no characters in the
6. use cp1252
7. use Latin-1

In the order from 1 to 6, check whether you manage to decode
the input. Notice that in step 5, you will definitely get successful
decoding; consider this a failure if you have get any control
characters (from range(128, 160)); then try in step 7 latin-1

When you find the first encoding that decodes correctly, encode
it with ascii and xmlcharrefreplace, and you won't need to worry
about the encoding, anymore.


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