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A.2 Major Changes in 1.6
The append method for lists can no longer be invoked with more than one argument. This used to append a single tuple made out of all arguments, but was undocumented. To append a tuple, write l.append((a, b, c)).
The connect, connect_ex, and bind methods for sockets require exactly one argument. Previously, you could call s.connect(host, port), but this was not by design; you must now write s.connect((host, port)).
The str and repr functions are now different more often. For long integers, str no longer appends an "L"; str(1L) is "1", which used to be "1L", and repr(1L) still returns "1L". For floats, repr now gives 17 digits of precision to ensure that no precision is lost (on all current hardware).
Some library functions and tools have been moved to the deprecated category, including some widely used tools such as find. The string module is now simply a frontend to the new string methods, but given that this module is used by almost every Python module written to date, it is very unlikely to go away.
A.2.2 Core Language Changes
The following sections describe changes made to the Python language itself.
A.2.2.1 Unicode strings
Python now supports Unicode (i.e., 16-bit wide character) strings. Release 1.6 added a new fundamental datatype (the Unicode string), a new built-in function unicode, and numerous C APIs to deal with Unicode and encodings. Unicode string constants are prefixed with the letter "u", much like raw strings (e.g., u"..."). See the file Misc/unicode.txt in your Python distribution for details, or visit web site http://starship.python.net/crew/lemburg/unicode-proposal.txt.
A.2.2.2 String methods
Many of the functions in the string module are now available as methods of string objects. For instance, you can now say str.lower( ) instead of importing the string module and saying string.lower(str). The equivalent of string.join(sequence,delimiter) is delimiter.join(sequence). (That is, you use " ".join(sequence) to mimic string.join(sequence)).
A.2.2.3 New (internal) regular expression engine
The new regular expression engine, SRE, is fully backward-compatible with the old engine, and is invoked using the same interface (the re module). That is, the re module's interface remains the way to write matches, and is unchanged; it is simply implemented to use SRE. You can explicitly invoke the old engine by importing pre, or the SRE engine by importing sre. SRE is faster than pre, and supports Unicode (which was the main reason to develop yet another underlying regular expression engine).
A.2.2.4 apply-like function calls syntax
Special function call syntax can be used instead of the apply function: f(*args, **kwds) is equivalent to apply(f, args, kwds). You can also use variations like f(a1, a2, *args, **kwds), and can leave one or the other out (e.g., f(*args), f(**kwds)).
A.2.2.5 String to number conversion bases
The built-ins int and long take an optional second argument to indicate the conversion base, but only if the first argument is a string. This makes string.atoi and string.atol obsolete. (string.atof already was.)
A.2.2.6 Better errors for local name oddities
When a local variable is known to the compiler but undefined when used, a new exception UnboundLocalError is raised. This is a class derived from NameError, so code that catches NameError should still work. The purpose is to provide better diagnostics in the following example:
x = 1 def f( ): print x x = x+1
This used to raise a confusing NameError on the print statement.
A.2.2.7 Membership operator overloading
A.2.3 Selected Library Module Changes
A.2.4 Selected Tools Changes
This section lists some of the changes made to Python tools.
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