What does the ‘u’ symbol mean in front of string values? [duplicate]

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Yes in short i would like to know why am I seeing a u in front of my keys and values.

I am rendering a form. The form has check-box for the particular label and one text field for the ip address. I am creating a dictionary with keys being the label which are hardcoded in the list_key and values for the dictionary are taken from the form input (list_value). The dictionary is created but it is preceded by u for some values. here is the sample output for the dictionary:

{u'1': {'broadcast': u'on', 'arp': '', 'webserver': '', 'ipaddr': u'', 'dns': ''}}

can someone please explain what I am doing wrong. I am not getting the error when i simulate similar method in pyscripter. Any suggestions to improve the code are welcome. Thank you

#!/usr/bin/env python

import webapp2
import itertools
import cgi

form ="""
    <form method="post">
    FIREWALL 
    <br><br>
    <select name="profiles">
        <option value="1">profile 1</option>
        <option value="2">profile 2</option>
        <option value="3">profile 3</option>
    </select>
    <br><br>
    Check the box to implement the particular policy
    <br><br>

    <label> Allow Broadcast
        <input type="checkbox" name="broadcast">
    </label>
    <br><br>

    <label> Allow ARP
        <input type="checkbox" name="arp">
    </label><br><br>

    <label> Allow Web traffic from external address to internal webserver
        <input type="checkbox" name="webserver">
    </label><br><br>

    <label> Allow DNS
        <input type="checkbox" name="dns">
    </label><br><br>

    <label> Block particular Internet Protocol  address
        <input type="text" name="ipaddr">
    </label><br><br>

    <input type="submit">   
    </form>
"""
dictionarymain={}

class MainHandler(webapp2.RequestHandler):  
    def get(self):
        self.response.out.write(form)

    def post(self):
        # get the parameters from the form 
        profile = self.request.get('profiles')

        broadcast = self.request.get('broadcast')
        arp = self.request.get('arp')
        webserver = self.request.get('webserver')
        dns =self.request.get('dns')
        ipaddr = self.request.get('ipaddr')


        # Create a dictionary for the above parameters
        list_value =[ broadcast , arp , webserver , dns, ipaddr ]
        list_key =['broadcast' , 'arp' , 'webserver' , 'dns' , 'ipaddr' ]

        #self.response.headers['Content-Type'] ='text/plain'
        #self.response.out.write(profile)

        # map two list to a dictionary using itertools
        adict = dict(zip(list_key,list_value))
        self.response.headers['Content-Type'] ='text/plain'
        self.response.out.write(adict)

        if profile not in dictionarymain:
            dictionarymain[profile]= {}
        dictionarymain[profile]= adict

        #self.response.headers['Content-Type'] ='text/plain'
        #self.response.out.write(dictionarymain)

        def escape_html(s):
            return cgi.escape(s, quote =True)



app = webapp2.WSGIApplication([("https://stackoverflow.com/", MainHandler)],
                              debug=True)

The ‘u’ in front of the string values means the string is a Unicode string. Unicode is a way to represent more characters than normal ASCII can manage. The fact that you’re seeing the u means you’re on Python 2 – strings are Unicode by default on Python 3, but on Python 2, the u in front distinguishes Unicode strings. The rest of this answer will focus on Python 2.

You can create a Unicode string multiple ways:

>>> u'foo'
u'foo'
>>> unicode('foo') # Python 2 only
u'foo'

But the real reason is to represent something like this (translation here):

>>> val = u'???????????? ? ?????????????'
>>> val
u'\u041e\u0437\u043d\u0430\u043a\u043e\u043c\u044c\u0442\u0435\u0441\u044c \u0441 \u0434\u043e\u043a\u0443\u043c\u0435\u043d\u0442\u0430\u0446\u0438\u0435\u0439'
>>> print val
???????????? ? ?????????????

For the most part, Unicode and non-Unicode strings are interoperable on Python 2.

There are other symbols you will see, such as the “raw” symbol r for telling a string not to interpret backslashes. This is extremely useful for writing regular expressions.

>>> 'foo\"'
'foo"'
>>> r'foo\"'
'foo\\"'

Unicode and non-Unicode strings can be equal on Python 2:

>>> bird1 = unicode('unladen swallow')
>>> bird2 = 'unladen swallow'
>>> bird1 == bird2
True

but not on Python 3:

>>> x = u'asdf' # Python 3
>>> y = b'asdf' # b indicates bytestring
>>> x == y
False

This is a feature, not a bug.

See http://docs.python.org/howto/unicode.html, specifically the ‘unicode type’ section.


The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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