encode and decode builtins

Garrett Berg googberg at gmail.com
Sun Nov 16 08:39:50 CET 2014

I made the switch to python 3 about two months ago, and I have to say I
love everything about it, *especially* the change to using only bytes and
str (no more unicode! or... everything is unicode!) As someone who works
with embedded devices, it is great to know what data I am working with.

However, there are times that I do not care what data I am working with,
and I find myself writing something like:

if isinstance(data, bytes): data = data.decode()

This is tedious and breaks the pythonic method of not caring about what
your input is. If I expect that my input can always be decoded into valid
data, then why do I have to write this?

Instead, I would like to propose to add *encode* and *decode* as builtins.
I have written simple code to demonstrate my desire:


There may be a few edge cases I am missing, which would all the more prove
my point -- we need a function like this!

Basically, if I expect my data to be a string I can just write:

data = decode(data)

​Which would accomplish two goals: explicitly stating what I expect of my
data, and doing so concisely and cleanly.
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