MRAB python at
Sat Oct 17 18:14:11 CEST 2009

Arian Kuschki wrote:
> Hi all
> this has been bugging me for a long time and I do not seem to be able to 
> understand what to do. I always have problems when dealing input text that 
> contains umlauts. Consider the following:
> In [1]: import urllib
> In [2]: f = urllib.urlopen("")
> In [3]: xml =
> In [4]: f.close()
> In [5]: print xml
> ------> print(xml)
> <?xml version="1.0"?><xml_api_reply version="1"><weather module_id="0" 
> tab_id="0" mobile_row="0" mobile_zipped="1" row="0" section="0" 
>> <forecast_information><cit
> y data="Munich, BY"/><postal_code data="Muenchen"/><latitude_e6 
> data=""/><longitude_e6 data=""/><forecast_date 
> data="2009-10-17"/><current_date_time data="2009-10
> -17 14:20:00 +0000"/><unit_system 
> data="SI"/></forecast_information><current_conditions><condition data="Meistens 
> bew�kt"/><temp_f data="43"/><temp_c data="6"/><h
> umidity data="Feuchtigkeit: 87�%"/><icon 
> data="/ig/images/weather/mostly_cloudy.gif"/><wind_condition data="Wind: W mit 
> Windgeschwindigkeiten von 13 km/h"/></curr
> ent_conditions><forecast_conditions><day_of_week data="Sa."/><low 
> data="1"/><high data="7"/><icon 
> data="/ig/images/weather/chance_of_rain.gif"/><condition data="V
> ereinzelt Regen"/></forecast_conditions><forecast_conditions><day_of_week 
> data="So."/><low data="-1"/><high data="8"/><icon 
> data="/ig/images/weather/chance_of_sno
> w.gif"/><condition data="Vereinzelt 
> Schnee"/></forecast_conditions><forecast_conditions><day_of_week 
> data="Mo."/><low data="-4"/><high data="8"/><icon data="/ig/i
> mages/weather/mostly_sunny.gif"/><condition data="Teils 
> sonnig"/></forecast_conditions><forecast_conditions><day_of_week 
> data="Di."/><low data="0"/><high data="8"
> /><icon data="/ig/images/weather/sunny.gif"/><condition 
> data="Klar"/></forecast_conditions></weather></xml_api_reply>
> As you can see the umlauts in the XML are not displayed properly. When I want 
> to process this text (for example with xml.sax), I get error messages because 
> the parses can't read this.
> I've tried to read up on this and there is a lot of information on the web, but 
> nothing seems to work for me. For example setting the coding to UTF like this: 
> # -*- coding: utf-8 -*- or using the decode() string method.
> I always have this kind of problem when input contains umlauts, not just in 
> this case. My locale (on Ubuntu) is en_GB.UTF-8.
The string you received from the website is a bytestring and you're just
printing it to your console, which is configured for UTF-8. However, the
bytestring isn't valid UTF-8, so the console is replacing the invalid
parts with the funny characters.

You should decode the bytestring to Unicode and then re-encode it to
UTF-8. I don't know what encoding the website is actually using; here
I'm assuming ISO-8859-1:

print xml.decode("iso-8859-1").encode("utf-8")

More information about the Python-list mailing list