Dealing with non-ascii characters in strings.

Usage:

myString = '102ยข'
print convertAscii(myString)
> 106{cent}

Function:

def convertAscii(unicrap):
    """This replaces UNICODE Latin-1 characters with
    something equivalent in 7-bit ASCII. All characters in the standard
    7-bit ASCII range are preserved. In the 8th bit range all the Latin-1
    accented letters are stripped of their accents. Most symbol characters
    are converted to something meaningful. Anything not converted is deleted.
    """
    xlate = {
        0xc0:'A', 0xc1:'A', 0xc2:'A', 0xc3:'A', 0xc4:'A', 0xc5:'A',
        0xc6:'Ae', 0xc7:'C',
        0xc8:'E', 0xc9:'E', 0xca:'E', 0xcb:'E',
        0xcc:'I', 0xcd:'I', 0xce:'I', 0xcf:'I',
        0xd0:'Th', 0xd1:'N',
        0xd2:'O', 0xd3:'O', 0xd4:'O', 0xd5:'O', 0xd6:'O', 0xd8:'O',
        0xd9:'U', 0xda:'U', 0xdb:'U', 0xdc:'U',
        0xdd:'Y', 0xde:'th', 0xdf:'ss',
        0xe0:'a', 0xe1:'a', 0xe2:'a', 0xe3:'a', 0xe4:'a', 0xe5:'a',
        0xe6:'ae', 0xe7:'c',
        0xe8:'e', 0xe9:'e', 0xea:'e', 0xeb:'e',
        0xec:'i', 0xed:'i', 0xee:'i', 0xef:'i',
        0xf0:'th', 0xf1:'n',
        0xf2:'o', 0xf3:'o', 0xf4:'o', 0xf5:'o', 0xf6:'o', 0xf8:'o',
        0xf9:'u', 0xfa:'u', 0xfb:'u', 0xfc:'u',
        0xfd:'y', 0xfe:'th', 0xff:'y',
        0xa1:'!', 0xa2:'{cent}', 0xa3:'{pound}', 0xa4:'{currency}',
        0xa5:'{yen}', 0xa6:'|', 0xa7:'{section}', 0xa8:'{umlaut}',
        0xa9:'{C}', 0xaa:'{^a}', 0xab:'<<', 0xac:'{not}',
        0xad:'-', 0xae:'{R}', 0xaf:'_', 0xb0:'{degrees}',
        0xb1:'{+/-}', 0xb2:'{^2}', 0xb3:'{^3}', 0xb4:"'",
        0xb5:'{micro}', 0xb6:'{paragraph}', 0xb7:'*', 0xb8:'{cedilla}',
        0xb9:'{^1}', 0xba:'{^o}', 0xbb:'>>',
        0xbc:'{1/4}', 0xbd:'{1/2}', 0xbe:'{3/4}', 0xbf:'?',
        0xd7:'*', 0xf7:'/'
    }
    r = ''
    try:
        for i in unicrap:
            if xlate.has_key(ord(i)):
                r += xlate[ord(i)]
            elif ord(i) >= 0x80:
                pass
            else:
                r += i
    except:
        pass
    if isinstance(r, basestring):
        if not isinstance(r, unicode):
            r = unicode(r, 'utf-8')
   return r

 

Print