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Re: pack and ASCII

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Ricardo Signes
January 15, 2012 19:01
Re: pack and ASCII
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Wow, what a thread.  About sixty-eight messages, by my count, and I am very
pleased to see that it never got much worse than exasperation.

This is what I think:

* It bugs the heck out of me that pack is now meant to also be used validly
  with character strings that have not been encoded some portable
  byte-oriented representation
* ...but it can.
* ...and the ship sailed on this a long time ago.

I think there are a few kinds of warnings that could be added.  They boil down

* warnings that would be erroneous too often in reasonable cases, if you are
  willing to accept the use of (forgive me) "pack as sprintf"
* warnings that guard against cases so specific as to not be worth implementing

I think we /must/ accept the use of pack on character strings for the time
being -- and "the time being" is not a short time value, here.  If I used pack
more often, I would probably write a little wrapper to complain about wide
characters.  Of course, even that wouldn't be good enough, for the general
case.  We're suffering from the opposite of the Unicode bug, here: the
conflation of text and binary strings in one type.

I already knew that pack needed better documentation, and I think that this
thread seals the deal.


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