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Python ascii() Function

Jan. 22, 2021 FUNCTION PYTHON 286

To learn about the ascii() function in Python, first, let's see some examples of ASCII and non-ASCII characters.

What are ASCII and non-ASCII characters?


ASCII stands for the "American Standard Code for Information Interchange".
It is a 7-bit character set containing 128 characters that include numbers from 0-9, the upper and lower case English letters(A-Z)(a-z), and some special characters.
It is a code for representing these 128 characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number from 0 to 127.
For example:
  1. A capital "T" is represented by 84.
  2. A lowercase "a" is represented by 97.
  3. The escape key(ESC) is represented by 27.
In ASCII, each character corresponds to a number. There are other encoding systems that use a different letter/number encoding.
Any Character Set Encodings that are not ASCII (the American Standard Code for Information Interchange) are non-ASCII Character Set Encoding.
For example, EBCDIC(Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code), Unicode.
Some of the instances of non-ASCII characters are é, ç, ñ, etc.

Definition of ascii() 


The ascii() method is a built-in Python function that replaces any non-ASCII characters with escape characters(\x, \u or \U escapes). This method returns a string containing a readable and printable representation of an object(String, Tuple, List, Dictionary, etc.)
For example:
  1.  ö changes to \xf6n
  2. √ changes to \u221a.

Syntax of ascii() 


ascii(object)

The ascii() method accepts an object like String, List, Tuple, Dictionary, etc. as a parameter.

Return value of ascii()


The return value of the ascii() method is always a String type.
print(type(ascii([])))

<class 'str'>

So, now, after getting to know the basic definition of the ascii() method and its syntax, let's go through some examples to see its implementation.

How the ascii() method works?


Example:

print(ascii("ê"))

'\xea'

print(ascii("й"))

'\u0439'

print(ascii("µ"))

​'\xb5'

In the above examples, we see that all the non-ASCII characters have been escaped, i.e, their encoded code gets displayed by using the ascii() method.
ê is changed to \xea
й is changed to \u0439
µ is changed to \xb5
Note: \x represents the Hex equivalent of a character and \u represents the Unicode value of a character.
Let's dive into more examples of ascii() method:

Examples:


Example 1: String as a Parameter

# A normal string
str1 = "This is a plain text"
print(ascii(str1))

# A string containing non-ascii character
str2= 'Ä ballöon is in the air'
print(ascii(str2))

# To display a string having non-ASCII character value using print()
print('P\xa5thon is inter\xeasting')

'This is a plain text' 

'\xc4 ball\xf6on is in the air'

P¥thon is interêsting

In the above example, we have two strings, str1 and str2.  

str1 is a plain text with no non-ASCII characters and str2  contains two non-ASCII characters(Ä, ö). 

As we can see in the output, the non-ASCII character is replaced with a readable representation of the non-ASCII character:

Ä is changed to \xc4

ö is changed to \xf6

The bottom print() statement prints the non-ASCII characters of their respective encoded value:

\xa5 is changed to ¥

\xea is changed to ê

Example 2: List as a Parameter

myList = ['Librar¥', 'Böök']
print(ascii(myList))

['Librar\xa5', 'B\xf6\xf6k']

Here, we have a List, myList of two elements passed as a parameter to the ascii() method.

ö is changed to \xf6

¥ is changed to \xa5

Example 3: Tuple as a Parameter

myTuple = ('√9','√16', '√25')
print(ascii(myTuple))

['\u221a9', '\u221a16', '\u221a25']

Here, we have a Tuple, myTuple of three elements passed as a parameter to the ascii() method.

√ is changed to \u221a


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