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1============ 2Unicode data 3============ 4 5Django natively supports Unicode data everywhere. Providing your database can 6somehow store the data, you can safely pass around Unicode strings to 7templates, models and the database. 8 9This document tells you what you need to know if you're writing applications 10that use data or templates that are encoded in something other than ASCII. 11 12Creating the database 13===================== 14 15Make sure your database is configured to be able to store arbitrary string 16data. Normally, this means giving it an encoding of UTF-8 or UTF-16. If you use 17a more restrictive encoding -- for example, latin1 (iso8859-1) -- you won't be 18able to store certain characters in the database, and information will be lost. 19 20 * MySQL users, refer to the `MySQL manual`_ (section 184.108.40.206 for MySQL 5.1) 21 for details on how to set or alter the database character set encoding. 22 23 * PostgreSQL users, refer to the `PostgreSQL manual`_ (section 21.2.2 in 24 PostgreSQL 8) for details on creating databases with the correct encoding. 25 26 * SQLite users, there is nothing you need to do. SQLite always uses UTF-8 27 for internal encoding. 28 29.. _MySQL manual: http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.1/en/charset-database.html 30.. _PostgreSQL manual: http://www.postgresql.org/docs/8.2/static/multibyte.html#AEN24104 31 32All of Django's database backends automatically convert Unicode strings into 33the appropriate encoding for talking to the database. They also automatically 34convert strings retrieved from the database into Python Unicode strings. You 35don't even need to tell Django what encoding your database uses: that is 36handled transparently. 37 38For more, see the section "The database API" below. 39 40General string handling 41======================= 42 43Whenever you use strings with Django -- e.g., in database lookups, template 44rendering or anywhere else -- you have two choices for encoding those strings. 45You can use Unicode strings, or you can use normal strings (sometimes called 46"bytestrings") that are encoded using UTF-8. 47 48.. admonition:: Warning 49 50 A bytestring does not carry any information with it about its encoding. 51 For that reason, we have to make an assumption, and Django assumes that all 52 bytestrings are in UTF-8. 53 54 If you pass a string to Django that has been encoded in some other format, 55 things will go wrong in interesting ways. Usually, Django will raise a 56 ``UnicodeDecodeError`` at some point. 57 58If your code only uses ASCII data, it's safe to use your normal strings, 59passing them around at will, because ASCII is a subset of UTF-8. 60 61Don't be fooled into thinking that if your :setting:`DEFAULT_CHARSET` setting is set 62to something other than ``'utf-8'`` you can use that other encoding in your 63bytestrings! :setting:`DEFAULT_CHARSET` only applies to the strings generated as 64the result of template rendering (and e-mail). Django will always assume UTF-8 65encoding for internal bytestrings. The reason for this is that the 66:setting:`DEFAULT_CHARSET` setting is not actually under your control (if you are the 67application developer). It's under the control of the person installing and 68using your application -- and if that person chooses a different setting, your 69code must still continue to work. Ergo, it cannot rely on that setting. 70 71In most cases when Django is dealing with strings, it will convert them to 72Unicode strings before doing anything else. So, as a general rule, if you pass 73in a bytestring, be prepared to receive a Unicode string back in the result. 74 75Translated strings 76------------------ 77 78Aside from Unicode strings and bytestrings, there's a third type of string-like 79object you may encounter when using Django. The framework's 80internationalization features introduce the concept of a "lazy translation" -- 81a string that has been marked as translated but whose actual translation result 82isn't determined until the object is used in a string. This feature is useful 83in cases where the translation locale is unknown until the string is used, even 84though the string might have originally been created when the code was first 85imported. 86 87Normally, you won't have to worry about lazy translations. Just be aware that 88if you examine an object and it claims to be a 89``django.utils.functional.__proxy__`` object, it is a lazy translation. 90Calling ``unicode()`` with the lazy translation as the argument will generate a 91Unicode string in the current locale. 92 93For more details about lazy translation objects, refer to the 94:doc:`internationalization </topics/i18n/index>` documentation. 95 96Useful utility functions 97------------------------ 98 99Because some string operations come up again and again, Django ships with a few 100useful functions that should make working with Unicode and bytestring objects 101a bit easier. 102 103Conversion functions 104~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 105 106The ``django.utils.encoding`` module contains a few functions that are handy 107for converting back and forth between Unicode and bytestrings. 108 109 * ``smart_unicode(s, encoding='utf-8', strings_only=False, errors='strict')`` 110 converts its input to a Unicode string. The ``encoding`` parameter 111 specifies the input encoding. (For example, Django uses this internally 112 when processing form input data, which might not be UTF-8 encoded.) The 113 ``strings_only`` parameter, if set to True, will result in Python 114 numbers, booleans and ``None`` not being converted to a string (they keep 115 their original types). The ``errors`` parameter takes any of the values 116 that are accepted by Python's ``unicode()`` function for its error 117 handling. 118 119 If you pass ``smart_unicode()`` an object that has a ``__unicode__`` 120 method, it will use that method to do the conversion. 121 122 * ``force_unicode(s, encoding='utf-8', strings_only=False, 123 errors='strict')`` is identical to ``smart_unicode()`` in almost all 124 cases. The difference is when the first argument is a :ref:`lazy 125 translation <lazy-translations>` instance. While ``smart_unicode()`` 126 preserves lazy translations, ``force_unicode()`` forces those objects to a 127 Unicode string (causing the translation to occur). Normally, you'll want 128 to use ``smart_unicode()``. However, ``force_unicode()`` is useful in 129 template tags and filters that absolutely *must* have a string to work 130 with, not just something that can be converted to a string. 131 132 * ``smart_str(s, encoding='utf-8', strings_only=False, errors='strict')`` 133 is essentially the opposite of ``smart_unicode()``. It forces the first 134 argument to a bytestring. The ``strings_only`` parameter has the same 135 behavior as for ``smart_unicode()`` and ``force_unicode()``. This is 136 slightly different semantics from Python's builtin ``str()`` function, 137 but the difference is needed in a few places within Django's internals. 138 139Normally, you'll only need to use ``smart_unicode()``. Call it as early as 140possible on any input data that might be either Unicode or a bytestring, and 141from then on, you can treat the result as always being Unicode. 142 143.. _uri-and-iri-handling: 144 145URI and IRI handling 146~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 147 148Web frameworks have to deal with URLs (which are a type of IRI_). One 149requirement of URLs is that they are encoded using only ASCII characters. 150However, in an international environment, you might need to construct a 151URL from an IRI_ -- very loosely speaking, a URI that can contain Unicode 152characters. Quoting and converting an IRI to URI can be a little tricky, so 153Django provides some assistance. 154 155 * The function ``django.utils.encoding.iri_to_uri()`` implements the 156 conversion from IRI to URI as required by the specification (`RFC 157 3987`_). 158 159 * The functions ``django.utils.http.urlquote()`` and 160 ``django.utils.http.urlquote_plus()`` are versions of Python's standard 161 ``urllib.quote()`` and ``urllib.quote_plus()`` that work with non-ASCII 162 characters. (The data is converted to UTF-8 prior to encoding.) 163 164These two groups of functions have slightly different purposes, and it's 165important to keep them straight. Normally, you would use ``urlquote()`` on the 166individual portions of the IRI or URI path so that any reserved characters 167such as '&' or '%' are correctly encoded. Then, you apply ``iri_to_uri()`` to 168the full IRI and it converts any non-ASCII characters to the correct encoded 169values. 170 171.. note:: 172 Technically, it isn't correct to say that ``iri_to_uri()`` implements the 173 full algorithm in the IRI specification. It doesn't (yet) perform the 174 international domain name encoding portion of the algorithm. 175 176The ``iri_to_uri()`` function will not change ASCII characters that are 177otherwise permitted in a URL. So, for example, the character '%' is not 178further encoded when passed to ``iri_to_uri()``. This means you can pass a 179full URL to this function and it will not mess up the query string or anything 180like that. 181 182An example might clarify things here:: 183 184 >>> urlquote(u'Paris & Orlйans') 185 u'Paris%20%26%20Orl%C3%A9ans' 186 >>> iri_to_uri(u'/favorites/Franзois/%s' % urlquote(u'Paris & Orlйans')) 187 '/favorites/Fran%C3%A7ois/Paris%20%26%20Orl%C3%A9ans' 188 189If you look carefully, you can see that the portion that was generated by 190``urlquote()`` in the second example was not double-quoted when passed to 191``iri_to_uri()``. This is a very important and useful feature. It means that 192you can construct your IRI without worrying about whether it contains 193non-ASCII characters and then, right at the end, call ``iri_to_uri()`` on the 194result. 195 196The ``iri_to_uri()`` function is also idempotent, which means the following is 197always true:: 198 199 iri_to_uri(iri_to_uri(some_string)) = iri_to_uri(some_string) 200 201So you can safely call it multiple times on the same IRI without risking 202double-quoting problems. 203 204.. _URI: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt 205.. _IRI: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3987.txt 206.. _RFC 3987: IRI_ 207 208Models 209====== 210 211Because all strings are returned from the database as Unicode strings, model 212fields that are character based (CharField, TextField, URLField, etc) will 213contain Unicode values when Django retrieves data from the database. This 214is *always* the case, even if the data could fit into an ASCII bytestring. 215 216You can pass in bytestrings when creating a model or populating a field, and 217Django will convert it to Unicode when it needs to. 218 219Choosing between ``__str__()`` and ``__unicode__()`` 220---------------------------------------------------- 221 222One consequence of using Unicode by default is that you have to take some care 223when printing data from the model. 224 225In particular, rather than giving your model a ``__str__()`` method, we 226recommended you implement a ``__unicode__()`` method. In the ``__unicode__()`` 227method, you can quite safely return the values of all your fields without 228having to worry about whether they fit into a bytestring or not. (The way 229Python works, the result of ``__str__()`` is *always* a bytestring, even if you 230accidentally try to return a Unicode object). 231 232You can still create a ``__str__()`` method on your models if you want, of 233course, but you shouldn't need to do this unless you have a good reason. 234Django's ``Model`` base class automatically provides a ``__str__()`` 235implementation that calls ``__unicode__()`` and encodes the result into UTF-8. 236This means you'll normally only need to implement a ``__unicode__()`` method 237and let Django handle the coercion to a bytestring when required. 238 239Taking care in ``get_absolute_url()`` 240------------------------------------- 241 242URLs can only contain ASCII characters. If you're constructing a URL from 243pieces of data that might be non-ASCII, be careful to encode the results in a 244way that is suitable for a URL. The ``django.db.models.permalink()`` decorator 245handles this for you automatically. 246 247If you're constructing a URL manually (i.e., *not* using the ``permalink()`` 248decorator), you'll need to take care of the encoding yourself. In this case, 249use the ``iri_to_uri()`` and ``urlquote()`` functions that were documented 250above_. For example:: 251 252 from django.utils.encoding import iri_to_uri 253 from django.utils.http import urlquote 254 255 def get_absolute_url(self): 256 url = u'/person/%s/?x=0&y=0' % urlquote(self.location) 257 return iri_to_uri(url) 258 259This function returns a correctly encoded URL even if ``self.location`` is 260something like "Jack visited Paris & Orlйans". (In fact, the ``iri_to_uri()`` 261call isn't strictly necessary in the above example, because all the 262non-ASCII characters would have been removed in quoting in the first line.) 263 264.. _above: `URI and IRI handling`_ 265 266The database API 267================ 268 269You can pass either Unicode strings or UTF-8 bytestrings as arguments to 270``filter()`` methods and the like in the database API. The following two 271querysets are identical:: 272 273 qs = People.objects.filter(name__contains=u'Е') 274 qs = People.objects.filter(name__contains='\xc3\x85') # UTF-8 encoding of Е 275 276Templates 277========= 278 279You can use either Unicode or bytestrings when creating templates manually:: 280 281 from django.template import Template 282 t1 = Template('This is a bytestring template.') 283 t2 = Template(u'This is a Unicode template.') 284 285But the common case is to read templates from the filesystem, and this creates 286a slight complication: not all filesystems store their data encoded as UTF-8. 287If your template files are not stored with a UTF-8 encoding, set the :setting:`FILE_CHARSET` 288setting to the encoding of the files on disk. When Django reads in a template 289file, it will convert the data from this encoding to Unicode. (:setting:`FILE_CHARSET` 290is set to ``'utf-8'`` by default.) 291 292The :setting:`DEFAULT_CHARSET` setting controls the encoding of rendered templates. 293This is set to UTF-8 by default. 294 295Template tags and filters 296------------------------- 297 298A couple of tips to remember when writing your own template tags and filters: 299 300 * Always return Unicode strings from a template tag's ``render()`` method 301 and from template filters. 302 303 * Use ``force_unicode()`` in preference to ``smart_unicode()`` in these 304 places. Tag rendering and filter calls occur as the template is being 305 rendered, so there is no advantage to postponing the conversion of lazy 306 translation objects into strings. It's easier to work solely with Unicode 307 strings at that point. 308 309E-mail 310====== 311 312Django's e-mail framework (in ``django.core.mail``) supports Unicode 313transparently. You can use Unicode data in the message bodies and any headers. 314However, you're still obligated to respect the requirements of the e-mail 315specifications, so, for example, e-mail addresses should use only ASCII 316characters. 317 318The following code example demonstrates that everything except e-mail addresses 319can be non-ASCII:: 320 321 from django.core.mail import EmailMessage 322 323 subject = u'My visit to Sшr-Trшndelag' 324 sender = u'Arnbjцrg Rбрormsdуttir <email@example.com>' 325 recipients = ['Fred <firstname.lastname@example.org'] 326 body = u'...' 327 EmailMessage(subject, body, sender, recipients).send() 328 329Form submission 330=============== 331 332HTML form submission is a tricky area. There's no guarantee that the 333submission will include encoding information, which means the framework might 334have to guess at the encoding of submitted data. 335 336Django adopts a "lazy" approach to decoding form data. The data in an 337``HttpRequest`` object is only decoded when you access it. In fact, most of 338the data is not decoded at all. Only the ``HttpRequest.GET`` and 339``HttpRequest.POST`` data structures have any decoding applied to them. Those 340two fields will return their members as Unicode data. All other attributes and 341methods of ``HttpRequest`` return data exactly as it was submitted by the 342client. 343 344By default, the :setting:`DEFAULT_CHARSET` setting is used as the assumed encoding 345for form data. If you need to change this for a particular form, you can set 346the ``encoding`` attribute on an ``HttpRequest`` instance. For example:: 347 348 def some_view(request): 349 # We know that the data must be encoded as KOI8-R (for some reason). 350 request.encoding = 'koi8-r' 351 ... 352 353You can even change the encoding after having accessed ``request.GET`` or 354``request.POST``, and all subsequent accesses will use the new encoding. 355 356Most developers won't need to worry about changing form encoding, but this is 357a useful feature for applications that talk to legacy systems whose encoding 358you cannot control. 359 360Django does not decode the data of file uploads, because that data is normally 361treated as collections of bytes, rather than strings. Any automatic decoding 362there would alter the meaning of the stream of bytes.