How to turn a string into a list of integers?

Rustom Mody rustompmody at
Sun Sep 7 20:34:22 CEST 2014

On Sunday, September 7, 2014 11:38:41 PM UTC+5:30, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> Rustom Mody wrote:

> > On Sunday, September 7, 2014 10:33:26 PM UTC+5:30, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> >> MRAB wrote:
> >> > I don't think you should be saying that it stores the string in Latin-1
> >> > or UTF-16 because that might suggest that they are encoded. They
> >> > aren't.
> >> Of course they are encoded. Memory consists of bytes, not Unicode code
> >> points, [...]

> > Dunno about philosophical questions -- especially unicode :-)
> > What I can see (python 3) which is I guess what MRAB was pointing out:
> >>>> "".encode
> >>>> "".decode
> > Traceback (most recent call last):
> > AttributeError: 'str' object has no attribute 'decode'

> What's your point? I'm talking about the implementation of how strings are
> stored in memory, not what methods the str class provides.

The methods (un)available reflect what're the (in)valid operations on
the type:


The items of a string object are Unicode code units.  Conversion from
and to other encodings are possible through the string method


A bytes object is an immutable array. The items are 8-bit bytes,
represented by integers in the range 0 <= x < 256. Bytes literals
(like b'abc' and the built-in function bytes() can be used to
construct bytes objects. Also, bytes objects can be decoded to
strings via the decode() method.


IOW I interpret MRAB's statement that strings should not be thought 
of as encoded because they consist of abstract code-points, seems to me (a unicode-ignoramus!) a reasonable outlook

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