3 PEP 263: Source Code Encodings

Python source files can now be declared as being in different character set encodings. Encodings are declared by including a specially formatted comment in the first or second line of the source file. For example, a UTF-8 file can be declared with:

#!/usr/bin/env python
# -*- coding: UTF-8 -*-

Without such an encoding declaration, the default encoding used is 7-bit ASCII. Executing or importing modules that contain string literals with 8-bit characters and have no encoding declaration will result in a DeprecationWarning being signalled by Python 2.3; in 2.4 this will be a syntax error.

The encoding declaration only affects Unicode string literals, which will be converted to Unicode using the specified encoding. Note that Python identifiers are still restricted to ASCII characters, so you can't have variable names that use characters outside of the usual alphanumerics.

See Also:

PEP 263, Defining Python Source Code Encodings
Written by Marc-André Lemburg and Martin von Löwis; implemented by Suzuki Hisao and Martin von Löwis.

See About this document... for information on suggesting changes.