Python 3 FAQ

What Python 3 versions are supported?

PyMongo supports Python 3.x where x >= 1.

We do not support Python 3.0.x. It has many problems (some that directly impact PyMongo) and was end-of-lifed with the release of Python 3.1.

Are there any PyMongo behavior changes with Python 3?

Only one intentional change. Instances of bytes are encoded as BSON type 5 (Binary data) with subtype 0. In Python 3 they are decoded back to bytes. In Python 2 they will be decoded to Binary with subtype 0.

For example, let’s insert a bytes instance using Python 3 then read it back. Notice the byte string is decoded back to bytes:

Python 3.1.4 (default, Mar 21 2012, 14:34:01)
[GCC 4.5.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pymongo
>>> c = pymongo.MongoClient()
>>> c.test.bintest.insert({'binary': b'this is a byte string'})
ObjectId('4f9086b1fba5222021000000')
>>> c.test.bintest.find_one()
{'binary': b'this is a byte string', '_id': ObjectId('4f9086b1fba5222021000000')}

Now retrieve the same document in Python 2. Notice the byte string is decoded to Binary:

Python 2.7.3 (default, Apr 12 2012, 10:35:17)
[GCC 4.5.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pymongo
>>> c = pymongo.MongoClient()
>>> c.test.bintest.find_one()
{u'binary': Binary('this is a byte string', 0), u'_id': ObjectId('4f9086b1fba5222021000000')}

Why can’t I share pickled ObjectIds between some versions of Python 2 and 3?

Instances of ObjectId pickled using Python 2 can always be unpickled using Python 3. Due to http://bugs.python.org/issue13505 you must use Python 3.2.3 or newer to pickle instances of ObjectId if you need to unpickle them in Python 2.

If you pickled an ObjectId using Python 2 and want to unpickle it using Python 3 you must pass encoding='latin-1' to pickle.loads:

Python 2.7.3 (default, Apr 12 2012, 10:35:17)
[GCC 4.5.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pickle
>>> from bson.objectid import ObjectId
>>> oid = ObjectId()
>>> oid
ObjectId('4f919ba2fba5225b84000000')
>>> pickle.dumps(oid)
'ccopy_reg\n_reconstructor\np0\n(cbson.objectid\...'

Python 3.1.4 (default, Mar 21 2012, 14:34:01)
[GCC 4.5.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pickle
>>> pickle.loads(b'ccopy_reg\n_reconstructor\np0\n(cbson.objectid\...', encoding='latin-1')
ObjectId('4f919ba2fba5225b84000000')

If you need to pickle ObjectIds using Python 3 and unpickle them using Python 2 you must use Python 3.2.3 or newer and protocol <= 2:

Python 3.2.3 (v3.2.3:3d0686d90f55, Apr 10 2012, 11:25:50)
[GCC 4.2.1 (Apple Inc. build 5666) (dot 3)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pickle
>>> from bson.objectid import ObjectId
>>> oid = ObjectId()
>>> oid
ObjectId('4f96f20c430ee6bd06000000')
>>> pickle.dumps(oid, protocol=2)
b'\x80\x02cbson.objectid\nObjectId\nq\x00)\x81q\x01c_codecs\nencode\...'

Python 2.4.4 (#1, Oct 18 2006, 10:34:39)
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5341)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pickle
>>> pickle.loads('\x80\x02cbson.objectid\nObjectId\nq\x00)\x81q\x01c_codecs\nencode\...')
ObjectId('4f96f20c430ee6bd06000000')

Unfortunately this won’t work if you pickled the ObjectId using a Python 3 version older than 3.2.3:

Python 3.2.2 (default, Mar 21 2012, 14:32:23)
[GCC 4.5.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pickle
>>> from bson.objectid import ObjectId
>>> oid = ObjectId()
>>> pickle.dumps(oid, protocol=2)
b'\x80\x02cbson.objectid\nObjectId\nq\x00)\x81q\x01c__builtin__\nbytes\...'

Python 2.4.6 (#1, Apr 12 2012, 14:48:24)
[GCC 4.5.3] on linux3
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pickle
>>> pickle.loads('\x80\x02cbson.objectid\nObjectId\nq\x00)\x81q\x01c__builtin__\nbytes\...')
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/pickle.py", line 1394, in loads
    return Unpickler(file).load()
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/pickle.py", line 872, in load
    dispatch[key](self)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/pickle.py", line 1104, in load_global
    klass = self.find_class(module, name)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/pickle.py", line 1140, in find_class
    klass = getattr(mod, name)
  AttributeError: 'module' object has no attribute 'bytes'

Warning

Unpickling in Python 2.6 or 2.7 an ObjectId pickled in a Python 3 version older than 3.2.3 will seem to succeed but the resulting ObjectId instance will contain garbage data.

>>> pickle.loads('\x80\x02cbson.objectid\nObjectId\nq\x00)\x81q\x01c__builtin__\nbytes\...)
ObjectId('5b37392c203135302c203234362c2034352c203235312c203136352c2033342c203532...')

Why do I get a syntax error importing pymongo after installing from source?

PyMongo makes use of the 2to3 tool to translate much of its code to valid Python 3 syntax at install time. The translated modules are written to the build subdirectory before being installed, leaving the original source files intact. If you start the python interactive shell from the top level source directory after running python setup.py install the untranslated modules will be the first thing in your path. Importing pymongo will result in an exception similar to:

Python 3.1.5 (default, Jun  2 2012, 12:24:49)
[GCC 4.6.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pymongo
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "pymongo/__init__.py", line 58, in <module>
    version = get_version_string()
  File "pymongo/__init__.py", line 54, in get_version_string
    if isinstance(version_tuple[-1], basestring):
NameError: global name 'basestring' is not defined

Note the path in the traceback (pymongo/__init__.py). Changing out of the source directory takes the untranslated modules out of your path:

$ cd ..
$ python
Python 3.1.5 (default, Jun  2 2012, 12:24:49)
[GCC 4.6.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pymongo
>>> pymongo.__file__
'/home/behackett/py3k/lib/python3.1/site-packages/pymongo-2.2-py3.1-linux-x86_64.egg/pymongo/__init__.py'