Arian Kuschki arian.kuschki at
Sat Oct 17 19:50:47 CEST 2009

Whoa, that was quick! Thanks for all the answers, I'll try to recapitulate

>What does this show you in your interactive interpreter?
>>>> print "\xc3\xb6"
>For me, it's o-umlaut, ö. This is because the above bytes are the
>sequence for ö in utf-8.
>If this shows something else, you need to adjust your terminal settings.

for me it also prints the correct o-umlaut (ö), so that was not the problem.

All of the below result in xml that shows all umlauts correctly when printed:


But when I want to parse the xml then, it only works if I
do both decode and encode. If I only decode, I get the following error:
SAXParseException: <unknown>:1:1: not well-formed (invalid token)

Do I understand right that since the encoding was not specified in the xml 
response, it should have been utf-8 by default? And that if it had indeed been utf-8 I 
would not have had the encoding problem in the first place?

Anyway, thanks everybody, this has helped me a lot.


On Sat 17, 20:17 +0200, Diez B. Roggisch wrote:

> StarWing schrieb:
> >On 10月18日, 上午12时50分, "Diez B. Roggisch" <de... at> wrote:
> >>StarWing schrieb:
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>>On 10月17日, 下午9时54分, Arian Kuschki <arian.kusc... at>
> >>>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.
> >>>>Cheers
> >>>>Arian
> >>>try this?
> >>># vim: set fencoding=utf-8:
> >>>import urllib
> >>>import xml.sax as sax, xml.sax.handler as handler
> >>>f = urllib.urlopen("")
> >>>xml =
> >>>xml = xml.decode("cp1252")
> >>>f.close()
> >>>class my_handler(handler.ContentHandler):
> >>>    def startElement(self, name, attrs):
> >>>        print "begin:", name, attrs
> >>>    def endElement(self, name):
> >>>        print "end:", name
> >>>sax.parseString(xml, my_handler())
> >>This is wrong. XML is a *byte*-based format, which explicitly states
> >>encodings. So decoding a byte-string to a unicode-object and then
> >>passing it to a parser is not working in the very moment you have data that
> >>
> >>  - is outside your default-system-encoding (ususally ascii)
> >>  - the system-encoding and the declared decoding differ
> >>
> >>Besides, I don't see where the whole SAX-stuff is supposed to do
> >>anything the direct print  and the decode() don't do - smells like
> >>cargo-cult to me.
> >>
> >>Diez
> >
> >yes, XML is a *byte*-based format, and so as utf-8 and code-page
> >(cp936, cp1252, etc.). so usually XML will sign its coding at head.
> >but this didn't work now.
> >
> >in Python2.6, sys.getdefaultcoding() return 'ascii', and I can't use
> >sys.setdefaultcoding(), and return a str. so it must be a
> >undecoded, byte-base format (i.e. raw XML data). so use the right code-
> >page to decode it is safe.(notice the webpage is
> >
> >in Python3.1, read() returns a bytes object. so we *must* decode it,
> >nor we can't pass it into a parser.
> You didn't get my point. A XML-parser only *takes* a byte-string.
> Decoding is it's business. So your above last sentence is wrong.
> Because regardless of the python-version, if you feed the parser a
> unicode-object, python will first encode that to a byte-string,
> possibly giving a UnicodeError (maybe this automated conversion has
> gone in Py3K, but then you get a type-error instead).
> So to make the above work (if one wants to parse the xml), the
> proper thing to do would be
>   xml = xml.decode("cp1252").encode("utf-8")
> and then feed that. Of course the really good thing would be to fix
> the webpage, but that's beyond our capabilities I fear...
> Diez
> -- 


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