python 3.3 repr

Robin Becker robin at
Fri Nov 15 12:28:15 CET 2013

I'm trying to understand what's going on with this simple program

if __name__=='__main__':
	print("repr=%s" % repr(u'\xc1'))
	print("%%r=%r" % u'\xc1')

On my windows XP box this fails miserably if run directly at a terminal

C:\tmp> \Python33\python.exe
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "", line 2, in <module>
     print("repr=%s" % repr(u'\xc1'))
   File "C:\Python33\lib\encodings\", line 19, in encode
     return codecs.charmap_encode(input,self.errors,encoding_map)[0]
UnicodeEncodeError: 'charmap' codec can't encode character '\xc1' in position 6: 
character maps to <undefined>

If I run the program redirected into a file then no error occurs and the the 
result looks like this

C:\tmp>cat fff

and if I run it into a pipe it works as though into a file.

It seems that repr thinks it can render u'\xc1' directly which is a problem 
since print then seems to want to convert that to cp437 if directed into a terminal.

I find the idea that print knows what it's printing to a bit dangerous, but it's 
the repr behaviour that strikes me as bad.

What is responsible for defining the repr function's 'printable' so that repr 
would give me say an Ascii rendering?
-confused-ly yrs-
Robin Becker

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