Workaround for flask/babel/sphinx bug on Python 3+

I’m using Python 3.4 on Windows. Recently I tried to install and use Sphinx.  When I did, I encountered an error that ended with the string

an integer is required (got type str)

Googling that string, I found an explanation of the problem on stackoverflow, HERE. As Andy Skirrow wrote on August 3, 2015, this is a bug in the current distribution of babel.

a pickled file babel/global.dat is included in a the package and this can’t be read by python 3 because it was created by script running under python 2.

The problem (as I understand it) is that Python 2.x pickles/unpickles datetime objects as ASCII strings, but Python 3.x pickles/unpickles them as Unicode strings.

The babel folks are working on it. But until they fix it, I needed a really simple-minded solution.  I needed something that would fit my brain.

Fortunately, I still had Python 2.7 installed on my PC.  So here is what I did.

  1. I went into the Python34 site-packages/babel folder, found the globals.dat file, and copied it into the Python27 folder.
  2. I wrote a program fix_a to unpickle (load) the globals.dat file and save it as a string. I saved this program in the Python27 folder, and ran it under Python 2.7.
  3. I wrote a program fix_b that imported the datetime module and repickled the string into a file named globals.dat. I saved this program in the Python34 folder, and ran it under Python 3.4.
  4. I copied the new globals.dat file over the original globals.dat file in the Python34 site-packages/babel folder.

It worked.  Sphinx is now working fine.


The text of fix_a.py is:

import pickle
f = open("global.dat","rb")
obj = pickle.load(f)
f.close()
print(repr(obj))

and I ran it this way, from inside the Python27 folder:

python -m fix_a > junk.txt

The text of fix_b.py is:

import datetime
import pickle
d = [copied the text of junk.txt here]
f = open("global.dat", "wb")
pickle.dump(d, f)
f.close()

and I ran it this way, from inside the Python34 folder:

python -m fix_b

To save you some trouble, here is the Python 3.4 globals.dat file that I made.  Because WordPress wouldn’t allow me to upload it with a “dat” extension, it has a “doc” extension.  When you download it, you should rename it and give it a “dat” extension.

global.doc