python for everyday tasks

Ben Finney ben+python at
Tue Nov 26 00:35:00 CET 2013

Chris Angelico <rosuav at> writes:

> (Fifteen years. It's seventeen years since Unicode 2.0, when 16-bit
> characters were outmoded. It's about time _every_ modern language
> followed Python's and Pike's lead and got its Unicode support right.)

Most languages that already have some support for Unicode have a
significant amount of legacy code to continue supporting, though. Python
has the same problem: there're still heaps of Python 2 deployments out
there, and more being installed every day, none of which do Unicode

To fix Unicode support in Python, the developers and community had to
initiate – and is still working through – a long, high-effort transition
across a backward-incompatible change in order to get the community to
Python 3, which finally does Unicode right.

Other language communities will likely have to do a similar huge effort,
or forever live with nearly-right-but-fundamentally-broken Unicode

See, for example, the enormous number of ECMAScript deployments in every
user-facing browser, all with the false assumption (§2 of ECMA-262
that UTF-16 and Unicode are the same thing and nothing outside the BMP

And ECMAScript is near the front of the programming language pack in
terms of Unicode support — most others have far more heinous flaws that
need to be fixed by breaking backward compatibility. I wish their
communities luck.

 \         “Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may |
  `\          hear from others twice as much as we speak.” —Epictetus, |
_o__)                                                      _Fragments_ |
Ben Finney

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