UnicodeDecodeError: ‘ascii’ codec can’t decode byte 0xe2 in position 320: ordinal not in range(128)

What did I do wrong? (In python)

Asked on November 23, 2023 in uncategorized.
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1 Answer(s)
The `UnicodeDecodeError` you're seeing in Python indicates that the program attempted to process some text with an encoding that did not support certain characters present in the text. By default, Python 2.x often assumes the 'ascii' codec, which can only handle characters in the range of 0 to 127 (standard ASCII). The error message indicates that there's a byte (0xe2) in the text that is not valid ASCII, and therefore Python was unable to process the text with the 'ascii' codec. To resolve this error, you should specify the correct encoding that matches the character set used by your input data. If you're working with files, you can specify the encoding when opening the file. For example, if your text is in UTF-8 encoding, which is common especially on the web, you would open the file as follows: ```python with open('yourfile.txt', 'r', encoding='utf-8') as file: content = file.read() ``` If you are using Python 2.x, 'utf-8' won't be recognized as a valid keyword argument for `open`. Instead, you'll need to use the `io` module, which allows you to specify an encoding: ```python import io with io.open('yourfile.txt', 'r', encoding='utf-8') as file: content = file.read() ``` Or you might be working with text received from external sources, such as APIs or user input, that isn't ASCII-compatible. In such cases, if the encoding is known, you should decode the bytes using that encoding. If the encoding is unknown, you'll need to determine it before proceeding. Python has a 'chardet' library that can help with guessing the encoding if it's not already known: ```python import chardet # Let's assume 'byte_text' is the byte string that's causing the error byte_text = b'\xe2\x82\xac' # Guess the encoding detected_encoding = chardet.detect(byte_text)["encoding"] # Decode the text using the detected encoding text = byte_text.decode(detected_encoding) ``` Remember, it's important to know the encoding of your data to handle text correctly, especially when dealing with non-ASCII characters. If you're unsure about the source encoding, you will need to investigate or obtain this information from the data provider. Finally, if you are encountering this problem consistently with different data sources, it may be worth ensuring that your entire text processing pipeline (input, processing, storage, and output) supports Unicode (UTF-8 is a common choice) to avoid such errors in the future.
Answered on November 23, 2023.
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