FAQ

Laurent Therond wrote:
I used the interpreter on my system:
c = StringIO()
c.write('%d:%s' % (len('string?'), 'string?'))
print c.getvalue()
7:string?

OK

Did StringIO just recognize Extended ASCII?
Did StringIO just recognize ISO 8859-1?

? belongs to Extended ASCII AND ISO 8859-1.
No, StringIO didn't "recognize" anything but a simple string. There is
no issue of codecs and encoding and such going on here, because you are
sending in a string (as it happens, one that's not 8-bit clean, but that's
irrelevant though it may be the cause of your confusion) and getting out
a string. StringIO does not make any attempt to "encode" something that
is already a string.
print c.getvalue().decode('US-ASCII')
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0x82 in position 8: ordinal
not in range(128)
print c.getvalue().decode('ISO-8859-1')
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
File "C:\Python23\lib\encodings\cp437.py", line 18, in encode
return codecs.charmap_encode(input,errors,encoding_map)
UnicodeEncodeError: 'charmap' codec can't encode character u'\x82' in position 8
: character maps to <undefined>
OK

It must have been Extended ASCII, then.
Hmm... note that when you are trying to decode that string, you are
attempting to print a unicode rather than a string. When you try to
print that on your console, the console must decode it using the default
encoding again. I think you know this, but in case you didn't: it explains
why you got a DecodeError in the first place, but an EncodeError in the
second. The second example worked, treating the string as having been
encoded using ISO-8859-1, and returns a unicode. If you had assigned
it instead of printing it, you should have seen now errors.

-Peter

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