OK I just summed up the situation.
A payload is an array of bytes.

An Array of bytes should not be translated into a string (encoding could
be an issue, especially if a binary). Thus I prefer having a list of int

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https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/691167

Title:
  The payload is sometimes mentioned as string and sometimes as array of bytes

Status in Zeitgeist Framework:
  In Progress

Bug description:
  In the event serialization format, the third array is array of bytes or ay as 
dbus signature.

When an event enters an extension, it looks like
Event([dbus.Array([u'', u'1292500628312', u'', u'', 
u'application://foo.desktop'], signature=dbus.Signature('s')), [Subject([u'', 
u'', u'', u'', u'', u'', u''])], dbus.Array([], signature=dbus.Signature('y'))])

which implies that payload is array of bytes

Now look at _zeitgeist/engine/datamodel.py at line 58
where you get the line
>> popo.append(str(ev[2]))

Really so when you do str() on dbus.Array([], signature=dbus.Signature('y'))
you get "dbus.Array([], signature=dbus.Signature('y'))" instead of the contents 
of bytes converted to string

Now when you call Event.get_plain on

Event([dbus.Array([u'', u'1292500628312', u'', u'', 
u'application://foo.desktop'], signature=dbus.Signature('s')), [Subject([u'', 
u'', u'', u'', u'', u'', u''])], dbus.Array([], signature=dbus.Signature('y'))])

you get

[[u'', u'1292500628312', u'', u'', u'application://foo.desktop'], [[u'', u'', 
u'', u'', u'', u'', u'']], "dbus.Array([], signature=dbus.Signature('y'))"]

Not what you expect





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