Writing Unicode to database using ODBC

Mudcat mnations at gmail.com
Wed Sep 3 19:11:37 CEST 2008

In short what I'm trying to do is read a document using an xml parser
and then upload that data back into a database. I've got the code more
or less completed using xml.etree.ElementTree for the parser and dbi/
odbc for my db connection.

To fix problems with unicode I built a work-around by mapping unicode
characters to equivalent ascii characters and then encoding everything
to ascii. That allowed me to build the application and debug it
without running into problems printing to file or stdout to screen.

However, now that I've got all that working I'd like to simply take
the unicode data from the xml parser and then pass it directly into
the database (which is currently set up for unicode data). I've run
into problems and just can't figure why this isn't working.

The breakdown is occurring when I try to execute the db query:

          cur.execute( query )

Fairly straightforward. I get the following error:

  File "atp_alt.py", line 273, in dbWrite
    cur.execute( query )
UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\u201c' in
position 3
79: ordinal not in range(128)

I've verified that query is of type unicode by checking the type a
statement or two earlier (output: <type 'unicode'>).

So then I thought maybe the odbc execute just can't handle unicode
data. But when I do the following command:

          query = query.encode('utf-8')

It actually works. So apparently execute can handle unicode data. The
problem now is that basically the data has been encoded twice and is
in the wrong format when I pull it from the database:

>>> a
u'+CMGL: (\xe2\u20ac\u0153REC UNREAD\xe2\u20ac\x9d,\xe2\u20ac\x9dREC
READ\xe2\u20ac\x9d,\xe2\u20ac\x9dSTO UNSENT\xe2\u20ac\x9d,\xe2\u20ac
\x9dSTO SENT\xe2\u20ac\x9d,\xe2\u20ac\x9dALL\xe2\u20ac\x9d) OK'
>>> print a
€,”ALL”) OK

The non-alpha characters should be double-quotes. It works correctly
if I copy/paste into the editor:

>>> d
>>> print d
>>> d.encode('utf-8')
>>> type(d.encode('utf-8'))
<type 'str'>

I can then decode the string to get back the proper unicode data. I
can't do that with the data out of the db because it's of the wrong
type for the data that it has.

I think the problem is that I'm having to encode data again to force
it into the database, but how can I use the odbc.execute() function
without having to do that?

More information about the Python-list mailing list