Changes in 0.1.15 and how to use same code on stable machines

John Wright jsw at
Sat Apr 10 20:37:01 UTC 2010

Hi Andreas,

On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 01:33:22PM +0200, Andreas Tille wrote:
> Hi,
> for the Debian Pure Blends tasks pages I'm using python-debian.  I frequently
> used code like
>     printsting = unicode(stanza[field], 'utf-8')
> to handle UTF-8 encoded strings.  When using python-debian >= 0.1.15
> this results in
>    TypeError: decoding Unicode is not supported
> exceptions which is caused by the change which is refered to in the
> changelog saying:
>   [ John Wright ]
>   * deb822: Better support for non-ascii values.  Deb822 objects now
>     always contain unicode objects instead of strings.  Use the encoding
>     argument to Deb822's initializer and its iter_paragraphs class
>     method if the encoding of a file you are reading in is not utf-8.
>     (The dump method also takes an encoding argument, if you wish the
>     output not to be utf-8-encoded.) (Closes: #495272)
> While I'm really happy about the change which simplifies things I wonder
> what you would suggest to run the same code on development as well as
> production machines (for instance which generates the
> tasks pages). is only featuring 0.1.14 and I have
> no idea which code relays on the old behaviour and what might be broken
> there would be a backport of the recent python-debian would be installed
> on alioth.
> Any hints?

How about

    printstring = stanza[field].decode('utf-8')

As far as I have tested, both str and unicode have a decode method, and
it looks like unicode doesn't really care about what argument you give

The other option is checking whether the object is unicode or str type,
but I think the above works, and is cleaner.

John Wright <jsw at>

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