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What is a bytes-like object?

Educative Answers Team

A computer can only store data in the form of bytes. In order to store anything on your computer, you must convert it in a form that a computer can understand and store. This conversion is called the encoding of data. Therefore, in order to store data, the user must first encode it to a bytes-like object. Let’s look at a few types of data and their relevant encodings:

Type Encoding(s)
Music MP3, WAV

Bytes-like object in python

In Python, a string object is a series of characters that make a string. In the same manner, a byte object is a sequence of bits/bytes that represent data. Strings are human-readable while bytes are computer-readable.

Data is converted into byte form before it is stored on a computer. It is vital that you encode data before sending it during client-server transmissions. Let’s look at an example of how to encode and decode a string in python.

newstr = "Hello World"
newstr_bytes = newstr.encode("ascii")

When you run the code above, it will give you:

b'Hello World'

The b represents the string in bytes in ASCII form.

In order to decode it back into its original form, you may use the decode() method. Look at the code below:

newstr_decode = newstr_bytes.decode("ascii")

Encoding and decoding are inverse operations. Data must be encoded before storing in on a computer. Data must be decoded before a human reads it. These byte-like objects are used across various operations and require data to be in binary form, e.g., compression, file transfer, data storage, socket programming, etc.


# a string that we will convert to bytes
str_string = "Educative"

# convert the string to using bytes with ascii encoding
# parameters of function bytes 
# 1. The string that needs to be converted
# 2. The specified encoding e.g ascii, uft-8 etc.
str_bytes = str_string.encode("ascii")

# Will print the string but as bytes
print("encdoed =    ", str_bytes)

# The type will represent a byte object

# represents the ascii encodings of each character in converted string

list_bytes = list(str_bytes)

for b in list_bytes:
  print(chr(b), "is represented by",b)

# decoding the string
str_decode = str_bytes.decode("ascii")
print("decoded =    ", str_decode)


python bytes
python decode
python encode
bytes like object
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