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From "Thomas Bock" <>
Subject Re: lexical error: invalid character inside string
Date Wed, 30 Jan 2013 11:01:39 GMT

Thank you Paul!

I found a solution that I'm not glad with

(last part of Readme in

The chain was this:

1. put \r somehow in the db

2. get it tnto a R list by RJSONIO (results in e.g. a="\r")

3. do stuff

4. convert list to json by RJSONIO (results in e.g. \"a\":\"\r\")

5. send it back to db by RCurl

6. receive a error

between 4. and 5. I now replace \r by \\r resulting in a \r in

the database  document


> As you specifically showed in your original email sending the two
> bytes 0x5C72 (\r) from curl works correctly. Your R environment
> appears to be doing various types of unescaping before sending the
> data along to CouchDB which is what's causing you issues.
> From what you've shown the three characters 0x5C5C72 (\\r) works while
> two bytes 0x5C72 (\r) and four bytes 0x5C5C5C72 (\\\r) do not work.
> Most likely what is happening here is that R is unescaping your input.
> Thus the three byte example 0x5C65C72 (\\r) is unescaped internally to
> the two byte 0x5C72 (\r) sequence. Where as 0x5C72 (\r) and 0x5C5C5C72
> (\\\r) are unescaped to 0x0D (carriage return) and 0x5C0D (\ and a
> carriage return) respectively.
> Basically, you need to work on your R un|escaping semantics to make
> sure you're sending the right byte sequences to CouchDB. The easiest
> way to accomplish this is to use a proper JSON library instead of
> building JSON objects by hand.

I wrote a mail to Duncan author of RJSONIO;

if someone is interested in this issue I can | it ...


it does



> On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 1:47 AM, Thomas Bock <> wrote:
> >
> > Thank you for the answer!
> >
> >> >  curl -X PUT --data '{"a": "\r"}' --header "Content-Type:
> application/json"
> >> http://localhost:5984/r_test/ab7a
> >>
> >> I think JSON does not allow literal returns/newlines (or other
> >> control characters) inside strings; they have to be backslash-
> >
> >  But the curl line works; and in futon I also can type in a simple \r
> >
> >> escaped. It’s hard to follow exactly what’s going on through all the
> >> levels of quoting and unquoting that happen in the shell and in the
> >> Erlang output, but I think you haven’t escaped that \r enough — it
> >> probably needs to be "\\\r".
> >
> >  This ("\\\r") don't work; "\\r" works. Since \r is the end sign
> > of a gauge (and it don't accept any other) for a measurement value query
> > I need a reliable way.
> >
> >>
> >> FYI, as a side note, I’ve found the ‘httpie’[1] utility a lifesaver
> >> when talking to CouchDB (and other REST/JSON APIs) from the command
> >> line. It’s like a souped-up curl with a much clearer syntax for
> >> setting query parameters, and the ability to easily specify a JSON
> >> body. For example, I can run your same command as:
> >>
> >>    http PUT :5984/r_test/ab7a a='\r’
> >>
> >> —Jens
> >>
> >> [1]:

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