UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xef' in position 0: ordinal not in range(128)


Question

I want to parse my XML document. So I have stored my XML document as below

class XMLdocs(db.Expando):  
   id = db.IntegerProperty()    
   name=db.StringProperty()  
   content=db.BlobProperty()  

Now my below is my code

parser = make_parser()     
curHandler = BasketBallHandler()  
parser.setContentHandler(curHandler)  
for q in XMLdocs.all():  
        parser.parse(StringIO.StringIO(q.content))

I am getting below error

'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xef' in position 0: ordinal not in range(128)
Traceback (most recent call last):  
  File "/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/webapp/__init__.py", line 517, in __call__
    handler.post(*groups)   
  File "/base/data/home/apps/parsepython/1.348669006354245654/mapreduce/base_handler.py", line 59, in post
    self.handle()   
  File "/base/data/home/apps/parsepython/1.348669006354245654/mapreduce/handlers.py", line 168, in handle
    scan_aborted = not self.process_entity(entity, ctx)   
  File "/base/data/home/apps/parsepython/1.348669006354245654/mapreduce/handlers.py", line 233, in process_entity
    handler(entity)   
  File "/base/data/home/apps/parsepython/1.348669006354245654/parseXML.py", line 71, in process
    parser.parse(StringIO.StringIO(q.content))   
  File "/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/xml/sax/expatreader.py", line 107, in parse
    xmlreader.IncrementalParser.parse(self, source)   
  File "/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/xml/sax/xmlreader.py", line 123, in parse
    self.feed(buffer)  
  File "/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/xml/sax/expatreader.py", line 207, in feed
    self._parser.Parse(data, isFinal)   
  File "/base/data/home/apps/parsepython/1.348669006354245654/parseXML.py", line 136, in characters   
    print ch   
UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xef' in position 0: ordinal not in range(128)   
1
73
2/28/2011 12:04:43 PM

Accepted Answer

It seems you are hitting a UTF-8 byte order mark (BOM). Try using this unicode string with BOM extracted out:

import codecs

content = unicode(q.content.strip(codecs.BOM_UTF8), 'utf-8')
parser.parse(StringIO.StringIO(content))

I used strip instead of lstrip because in your case you had multiple occurences of BOM, possibly due to concatenated file contents.

30
3/9/2013 10:17:33 PM

The actual best answer for this problem depends on your environment, specifically what encoding your terminal expects.

The quickest one-line solution is to encode everything you print to ASCII, which your terminal is almost certain to accept, while discarding characters that you cannot print:

print ch #fails
print ch.encode('ascii', 'ignore')

The better solution is to change your terminal's encoding to utf-8, and encode everything as utf-8 before printing. You should get in the habit of thinking about your unicode encoding EVERY time you print or read a string.


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