Does anybody know how to get the encoding of a file in Python. I know that you can use the codecs module to open a file with a specific encoding but you have to know it in advance.
f = codecs.open("file.txt", "r", "utf-8")
Unfortunately there is no 'correct' way to determine the encoding of a file by looking at the file itself. This is a universal problem, not limited to python or any particular file system.
If you're reading an XML file, the first line in the file might give you a hint of what the encoding is.
Otherwise, you will have to use some heuristics-based approach like chardet (one of the solutions given in other answers) which tries to guess the encoding by examining the data in the file in raw byte format. If you're on Windows, I believe the Windows API also exposes methods to try and guess the encoding based on the data in the file.