Reading \n unescaped from a file

Rob Hills rhills at
Wed Sep 2 04:03:53 CEST 2015


I am developing code (Python 3.4) that transforms text data from one
format to another.

As part of the process, I had a set of hard-coded str.replace(...)
functions that I used to clean up the incoming text into the desired
output format, something like this:

    dataIn = dataIn.replace('\r', '\\n') # Tidy up linefeeds
    dataIn = dataIn.replace('<','<') # Tidy up < character
    dataIn = dataIn.replace('>','>') # Tidy up < character
    dataIn = dataIn.replace('o','o') # No idea why but lots of these: convert to 'o' character
    dataIn = dataIn.replace('f','f') # .. and these: convert to 'f' character
    dataIn = dataIn.replace('e','e') # ..  'e'
    dataIn = dataIn.replace('O','O') # ..  'O'

These statements transform my data correctly, but the list of statements
grows as I test the data so I thought it made sense to store the
replacement mappings in a file, read them into a dict and loop through
that to do the cleaning up, like this:

        with open(fileName, 'r+t', encoding='utf-8') as mapFile:
            for line in mapFile:
                line = line.strip()
                    if (line) and not line.startswith('#'):
                        line = line.split('#')[:1][0].strip() # trim any trailing comments
                        name, value = line.split('=')
                        name = name.strip()
                    self.logger.error('exception occurred parsing line [{0}] in file [{1}]'.format(line, fileName))

Elsewhere, I use the following code to do the actual cleaning up:

    def filter(self, dataIn):
        if dataIn:
            for token, replacement in self.filterMap.items():
                dataIn = dataIn.replace(token, replacement)
        return dataIn

My mapping file contents look like this:

\r = \\n
“ = "
< = <
> = >
' = '
F = F
o = o
f = f
e = e
O = O

This all works "as advertised" */except/* for the '\r' => '\\n'
replacement. Debugging the code, I see that my '\r' character is
"escaped" to '\\r' and the '\\n' to '\\\\n' when they are read in from
the file.

I've been googling hard and reading the Python docs, trying to get my
head around character encoding, but I just can't figure out how to get
these bits of code to do what I want.

It seems to me that I need to either:

  * change the way I represent '\r' and '\\n' in my mapping file; or
  * transform them somehow when I read them in

However, I haven't figured out how to do either of these.


Rob Hills
Waikiki, Western Australia
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