I happened to meet an issue of an application crash, by the incorrec input of ASCII ESC(0x1b) within the character string parameter that needs to be UTF-8 encoding. The cause of the crash was that the parameter with the character string including ISO-2022-JP character set was given.

It is not acceptable for the application to be crashed even the wrong data is input. I was to add an extra check for the input data. The application is written with python3.

I discovered a convenient python function isprintable() while I was wondering how to check if the input string includes any ESC.

specification of isprintqable()

My trial of this function showed that ESC can be found in the string. How great, this is happily ever after! I wrote a test code and created pull request to be reviewed.

Then I proceeded onto the next testing to check if the correct data to be recognized as wrong while the wrong data gets hit, this can be happened when a new validation is added. I gathered the history data left in the production database to test it.

Unfortunately, there were bunch of data flagged as wrong input despite they were correct data. The cause of this was 2-byte-space \u3000 . isprintable() returns False to the input of this character. The ASCII space character 0x20 can be returned as printable (True) of course. Although it is an eye-opening behavior that 2-byte-space is not printable, this is the correct reaction according to the specification. I changed my code to check the existance of ESC directly to resubmit my pull request.

Finding this behavior before the production release was great. It is scary to even just imagine to release this without knowing!

A lesson learned by this: It is essential to test with the real data!

Akira Nonaka

Akira Nonaka


Joined March 2016. Formerly developed satellite communication firmware at NEC, MacOS localization and AppleShare file server development at Apple Inc. Loves Ruby, Haskell programing and watching rugby on Holidays. Recent interest is in development of iOS application in Swift. FAA private pilot.