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utf8 and ftplib

P: n/a
Hi there,

I'm having a problem with unicode files and ftplib (using Python 2.3.5).

I've got this code:

xml_source = codecs.open("foo.xml", 'w+b', "utf8")
#xml_source = file("foo.xml", 'w+b')

ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
#ftp.retrlines("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)

It opens a new local file using utf8 encoding and then reads from a file
on an FTP server (also utf8 encoded) into that local file. It comes up
with an error, however, on calling the xml_source.write callback (I
think) saying that:

"File "myscript.py", line 75, in get_content
ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/ftplib.py", line 384, in retrbinary
callback(data)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/codecs.py", line 400, in write
return self.writer.write(data)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/codecs.py", line 178, in write
data, consumed = self.encode(object, self.errors)
UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xc2 in position 76:
ordinal not in range(128)"

I've tried using both the commented lines of code in the above example
(i.e. using file() instead of codecs.open() and retlines() instead of
retbinary()). retlines() makes no difference, but if I use file()
instead of codecs.open() I can open the file, but the extended
characters from the source file (e.g. foreign characters, copyright
symbol, etc.) all appear with an extra character in front of them
(because of the two char width in utf8?).

Is the xml_source.write callback causing the problem here? Or is it
something else? Is there any way that I can correctly retrieve a utf8
encoded file from an FTP server?

Cheers,
Richard
Jul 19 '05 #1
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5 Replies


P: n/a
"Richard Lewis" <ri**********@fastmail.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ma**************************************@pyth on.org...
Hi there,

I'm having a problem with unicode files and ftplib (using Python 2.3.5).

I've got this code:

xml_source = codecs.open("foo.xml", 'w+b', "utf8")
#xml_source = file("foo.xml", 'w+b')

ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
#ftp.retrlines("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)

It opens a new local file using utf8 encoding and then reads from a file
on an FTP server (also utf8 encoded) into that local file. It comes up
with an error, however, on calling the xml_source.write callback (I
think) saying that:

"File "myscript.py", line 75, in get_content
ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/ftplib.py", line 384, in retrbinary
callback(data)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/codecs.py", line 400, in write
return self.writer.write(data)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/codecs.py", line 178, in write
data, consumed = self.encode(object, self.errors)
UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xc2 in position 76:
ordinal not in range(128)"

I've tried using both the commented lines of code in the above example
(i.e. using file() instead of codecs.open() and retlines() instead of
retbinary()). retlines() makes no difference, but if I use file()
instead of codecs.open() I can open the file, but the extended
characters from the source file (e.g. foreign characters, copyright
symbol, etc.) all appear with an extra character in front of them
(because of the two char width in utf8?).

Is the xml_source.write callback causing the problem here? Or is it
something else? Is there any way that I can correctly retrieve a utf8
encoded file from an FTP server?
It looks like there are at least two problems here. The major one
is that you seem to have a misconception about utf-8 encoding.

The _disk_ version of the file is what is encoded in utf-8, and it has
to be decoded to unicode on being read later. In other words,
what you got is what you should have put on disk without any
conversion. As you noted, when you did that, the FTP part of
the process worked.

Whatever program you are using to read it has to then decode
it from utf-8 into unicode. Failure to do this is what is causing
the extra characters on output.

The object returned by codecs.open raised an exception
because it expected a
unicode string on input; it got a character string already
encoded in utf-8 format. The internal mechanism is first
going to try to decode that into unicode before then
encoding it into utf-8. Unfortunately, the default for
encoding or decoding (outside of special contexts) is
ASCII-7. So everything outside of the ASCII range
is invalid.

Amusingly, this would have worked:

xml_source = codecs.EncodedFile("foo.xml", "utf-8", "utf-8")

It is, of course, an expensive way of doing nothing, but
it at least has the virtue of being good documentation.

HTH

John Roth


Cheers,
Richard


Jul 19 '05 #2

P: n/a
Richard Lewis wrote:
Hi there,

I'm having a problem with unicode files and ftplib (using Python 2.3.5).

I've got this code:

xml_source = codecs.open("foo.xml", 'w+b', "utf8")
#xml_source = file("foo.xml", 'w+b')

ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
#ftp.retrlines("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)

It opens a new local file using utf8 encoding and then reads from a file
on an FTP server (also utf8 encoded) into that local file. It comes up
with an error, however, on calling the xml_source.write callback (I
think) saying that:

"File "myscript.py", line 75, in get_content
ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/ftplib.py", line 384, in retrbinary
callback(data)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/codecs.py", line 400, in write
return self.writer.write(data)
File "/usr/lib/python2.3/codecs.py", line 178, in write
data, consumed = self.encode(object, self.errors)
UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xc2 in position 76:
ordinal not in range(128)"

I've tried using both the commented lines of code in the above example
(i.e. using file() instead of codecs.open() and retlines() instead of
retbinary()). retlines() makes no difference, but if I use file()
instead of codecs.open() I can open the file, but the extended
characters from the source file (e.g. foreign characters, copyright
symbol, etc.) all appear with an extra character in front of them
(because of the two char width in utf8?).
Saying "appear with an extra character in front of them" is close to
useless for diagnostic purposes -- print repr(sample_string) would be
more informative.

In any case, the file with the "foreign" [attitude?] characters may well
be what you want.

Is the xml_source.write callback causing the problem here? Or is it
something else? Is there any way that I can correctly retrieve a utf8
encoded file from an FTP server?


To get an exact copy of a file via FTP -- doesn't matter whether it's
encoded in utf8 or ESCII or whatever -- use the following combination:

xml_source = file("foo.xml", 'w+b')
ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)

If you were using a command-line FTP client, you would use the "binary"
command before doing a "get" or "mget".

HTH,
John
Jul 19 '05 #3

P: n/a

On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 12:06:50 -0600, "John Roth"
<ne********@jhrothjr.com> said:
"Richard Lewis" <ri**********@fastmail.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ma**************************************@pyth on.org...
Hi there,

I'm having a problem with unicode files and ftplib (using Python 2.3.5).

I've got this code:

xml_source = codecs.open("foo.xml", 'w+b', "utf8")
#xml_source = file("foo.xml", 'w+b')

ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
#ftp.retrlines("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)

It looks like there are at least two problems here. The major one
is that you seem to have a misconception about utf-8 encoding.

Who doesn't? ;-)

Whatever program you are using to read it has to then decode
it from utf-8 into unicode. Failure to do this is what is causing
the extra characters on output.

Amusingly, this would have worked:

xml_source = codecs.EncodedFile("foo.xml", "utf-8", "utf-8")

It is, of course, an expensive way of doing nothing, but
it at least has the virtue of being good documentation.

OK, I've fiddled around a bit more but I still haven't managed to get it
to work. I get the fact that its not the FTP operation thats causing the
problem so it must be either the xml.minidom.parse() function (and
whatever sort of file I give that) or the way that I write my results to
output files after I've done my DOM processing. I'll post some more
detailed code:

def open_file(file_name):
ftp = ftplib.FTP(self.host)
ftp.login(self.login, self.passwd)

content_file = file(file_name, 'w+b')
ftp.retrbinary("RETR " + self.path, content_file.write)
ftp.quit()
content_file.close()

## Case 1:
#self.document = parse(file_name)

## Case 2:
#self.document = parse(codecs.open(file_name, 'r+b', "utf-8"))

# Case 3:
content_file = codecs.open(file_name, 'r', "utf-8")
self.document = parse(codecs.EncodedFile(content_file, "utf-8",
"utf-8"))
content_file.close()

In Case1 I get the incorrectly encoded characters.

In Case 2 I get the exception:
"UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xe6' in
position 5208: ordinal not in range(128)"
when it calls the xml.minidom.parse() function.

In Case 3 I get the exception:
"UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xe6' in
position 5208: ordinal not in range(128)"
when it calls the xml.minidom.parse() function.

The character at position 5208 is an 'a' (assuming Emacs' goto-char
function has the same idea about file positions as
xml.minidom.parse()?). When I first tried these two new cases it came up
with an unencodable character at another position. By replacing the
large dash at this position with an ordinary minus sign I stopped it
from raising the exception at that point in the file. I checked the
character xe6 and (assuming I know what I'm doing) its a small ae
ligature.

Anyway, later on in the program I create a *very* large unicode string
after doing some playing with the DOM tree. I then write this to a file
using:
html_file = codecs.open(file_name, "w+b", "utf8")
html_file.write(very_large_unicode_string)

The problem could be here?

Cheers,
Richard
Jul 19 '05 #4

P: n/a
"Richard Lewis" <ri**********@fastmail.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ma**************************************@pyth on.org...

On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 12:06:50 -0600, "John Roth"
<ne********@jhrothjr.com> said:
"Richard Lewis" <ri**********@fastmail.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ma**************************************@pyth on.org...
> Hi there,
>
> I'm having a problem with unicode files and ftplib (using Python
> 2.3.5).
>
> I've got this code:
>
> xml_source = codecs.open("foo.xml", 'w+b', "utf8")
> #xml_source = file("foo.xml", 'w+b')
>
> ftp.retrbinary("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
> #ftp.retrlines("RETR foo.xml", xml_source.write)
>
It looks like there are at least two problems here. The major one
is that you seem to have a misconception about utf-8 encoding.

Who doesn't? ;-)


Lots of people. It's not difficult to understand, it just takes a
bit of attention to the messy details.

The basic concept is that Unicode is _always_ processed using
a unicode string _in the program_. On disk or across the internet,
it's _always_ stored in an encoded form, frequently but not always
utf-8. A regular string _never_ stores raw unicode; it's always
some encoding.

When you read text data from the internet, it's _always_ in some
encoding. If that encoding is one of the utf- encodings, it needs
to be converted to unicode to be processed, but it does not need
to be changed at all to write it to disk.

Whatever program you are using to read it has to then decode
it from utf-8 into unicode. Failure to do this is what is causing
the extra characters on output.


Amusingly, this would have worked:

xml_source = codecs.EncodedFile("foo.xml", "utf-8", "utf-8")

It is, of course, an expensive way of doing nothing, but
it at least has the virtue of being good documentation.

OK, I've fiddled around a bit more but I still haven't managed to get it
to work. I get the fact that its not the FTP operation thats causing the
problem so it must be either the xml.minidom.parse() function (and
whatever sort of file I give that) or the way that I write my results to
output files after I've done my DOM processing. I'll post some more
detailed code:


Please post _all_ of the relevant code. It wastes people's time
when you post incomplete examples. The critical issue is frequently
in the part that you didn't post.

def open_file(file_name):
ftp = ftplib.FTP(self.host)
ftp.login(self.login, self.passwd)

content_file = file(file_name, 'w+b')
ftp.retrbinary("RETR " + self.path, content_file.write)
ftp.quit()
content_file.close()

## Case 1:
#self.document = parse(file_name)

## Case 2:
#self.document = parse(codecs.open(file_name, 'r+b', "utf-8"))

# Case 3:
content_file = codecs.open(file_name, 'r', "utf-8")
self.document = parse(codecs.EncodedFile(content_file, "utf-8",
"utf-8"))
content_file.close()

In Case1 I get the incorrectly encoded characters.

In Case 2 I get the exception:
"UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xe6' in
position 5208: ordinal not in range(128)"
when it calls the xml.minidom.parse() function.

In Case 3 I get the exception:
"UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xe6' in
position 5208: ordinal not in range(128)"
when it calls the xml.minidom.parse() function.
That's exactly what you should expect. In the first case, the file
on disk is encoded as utf-8, and this is aparently what mini-dom
is expecting.

The documentation shows a simple read, it does not show any
kind of encoding or decoding.
Anyway, later on in the program I create a *very* large unicode string
after doing some playing with the DOM tree. I then write this to a file
using:
html_file = codecs.open(file_name, "w+b", "utf8")
html_file.write(very_large_unicode_string)

The problem could be here?
That should work. The problem, as I said in the first post,
is that whatever program you are using to render the file
to screen or print is _not_ treating the file as utf-8 encoded.
It either needs to be told that the file is in utf-8 encoding,
or you need to get a better rendering program.

Many renderers, including most renderers inside of
programming tools like file inspectors and debuggers,
assume that the encoding is latin-1 or windows-1252.
This will throw up funny characters if you try to read
a utf-8 (or any multi-byte encoded) file using them.

One trick that sometimes works is to insure that the first
character is the BOM (byte order mark, or unicode signature).
Properly written Windows programs will use this as an
encoding signature. Unixoid programs frequently won't,
but that's arguably a violation of the Unicode standard.
This is a single unicode character which is three characters
in utf-8 encoding.

John Roth

Cheers,
Richard


Jul 19 '05 #5

P: n/a
Richard Lewis wrote:
OK, I've fiddled around a bit more but I still haven't managed to get it
to work. I get the fact that its not the FTP operation thats causing the
problem so it must be either the xml.minidom.parse() function (and
whatever sort of file I give that) or the way that I write my results to
output files after I've done my DOM processing. I'll post some more
detailed code:

def open_file(file_name):
ftp = ftplib.FTP(self.host)
ftp.login(self.login, self.passwd)

content_file = file(file_name, 'w+b')
ftp.retrbinary("RETR " + self.path, content_file.write)
ftp.quit()
content_file.close()

## Case 1:
#self.document = parse(file_name)

## Case 2:
#self.document = parse(codecs.open(file_name, 'r+b', "utf-8"))

# Case 3:
content_file = codecs.open(file_name, 'r', "utf-8")
self.document = parse(codecs.EncodedFile(content_file, "utf-8",
"utf-8"))
content_file.close()

In Case1 I get the incorrectly encoded characters.


case 1 is the only one where you use the XML parser as it is designed to
be used (on the stream level, XML is defined in terms of encoded text,
not Unicode characters. the parser will decode things for you)

given that he XML tree returned by the parser contains *decoded* Uni-
code characters (in Unicode string objects), what makes you so sure that
you're getting "incorrectly encoded characters" from the parser?

</F>

(I wonder why this is so hard for so many people? hardly any programmer has
any problem telling the difference between, say, a 32-bit binary floating point
value on disk, a floating point object, and the string representation of a float.
but replace the float with a Unicode character, and anglocentric programmers
immediately resort to poking-with-a-stick-in-the-dark programming. I'll figure
it out, some day...)

Jul 19 '05 #6

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