Unicode string handling problem

John Machin sjmachin at lexicon.net
Wed Sep 6 03:34:59 CEST 2006

Richard Schulman wrote:
> The following program fragment works correctly with an ascii input
> file.
> But the file I actually want to process is Unicode (utf-16 encoding).
> The file must be Unicode rather than ASCII or Latin-1 because it
> contains mixed Chinese and English characters.
> When I run the program below I get an attribute_count of zero, which
> is incorrect for the input file, which should give a value of fifteen
> or sixteen. In other words, the count function isn't recognizing the
> ", characters in the line being read. Here's the program:
> in_file = open("c:\\pythonapps\\in-graf1.my","rU")
> try:
>     # Skip the first line; make the second available for processing
>     in_file.readline()
>     in_line = readline()

You mean in_line = in_file.readline(), I hope. Do please copy/paste
actual code, not what you think you ran.

>     attribute_count = in_line.count('",')
>     print attribute_count

    print type(in_line)
    print repr(in_line)
here [also make the appropriate changes to get the same info from the
first line], run it again, copy/paste what you get, show us what you

If you're coy about that, then you'll have to find out yourself if it
has a BOM at the front, and if not whether it's little/big/endian.

> finally:
>     in_file.close()
> Any suggestions?

1. Read the Unicode HOWTO.
2. Read the docs on the codecs module ...

You'll need to use

in_file = codecs.open(filepath, mode, encoding="utf16???????")

It would also be a good idea to get into the habit of using unicode
constants like u'",'


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