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Python BiDi

Bi-directional (BiDi) layout implementation in pure python

Package documentation


The algorithm starts with a single entry point bidi.algorithm.get_display.

Required arguments:

  • unicode_or_str: The original unicode or string (i.e.: storage). If it's a string use the optional argument encoding to specify it's encoding.

Optional arguments:

  • encoding: If unicode_or_str is a string, specifies the encoding. The algorithm uses unicodedata which requires unicode. This encoding will be used to decode and encode back to string before returning (default: "utf-8").
  • upper_is_rtl: True to treat upper case chars as strong 'R' for debugging (default: False).
  • base_dir: 'L' or 'R', override the calculated base_level.
  • debug: True to display (using sys.stderr) the steps taken with the algorithm (default: False).

Returns the display layout, either as unicode or encoding encoded string (depending on the type of unicode_or_str').


>>> from bidi.algorithm import get_display
>>> get_display(u'car is THE CAR in arabic', upper_is_rtl=True)
u'car is RAC EHT in arabic'


pybidi is a command line utility (calling bidi.main) for running the bidi algorithm. the script can get a string as a parameter or read text from stdin. Usage:

$ pybidi -h
Usage: pybidi [options]

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -e ENCODING, --encoding=ENCODING
                        Text encoding (default: utf-8)
  -u, --upper-is-rtl    treat upper case chars as strong 'R' for debugging
                        (default: False).
  -d, --debug           Output to stderr steps taken with the algorithm
  -b BASE_DIR, --base-dir=BASE_DIR
                        Override base direction [L|R]


$ pybidi -u 'car is THE CAR in arabic'
car is RAC EHT in arabic

$ cat ~/Documents/example.txt | pybidi


See docs/INSTALL.rst

Running tests

To run the tests:

python test

Some explicit tests are failing right now (see TODO)

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