RE: character encosing

Subject: RE: character encosing
From: "Andrew Warren" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: "e-letter" <inpost -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 20:51:08 -0700

e-letter wrote:

> What I don't understand: if person A posts a message to the mailing
> list in character set iso-8859-1 and my browser is made to view also
> in iso-8859-1, some characters are illegible (e.g. a black diamond
> encircling a question mark) ?


It could be a few things. Most likely, one of the many servers
through which the email traveled handles non-ASCII character
encodings poorly.

> How best should technical authors consider various character
> encoding, e.g. when creating an html formatted document, such that
> all characters are legible?
> Personally, I like utf-8.

UTF-8 is a great choice. The only thing you have to remember is
that there's a chicken-and-egg problem: Since the tag that defines
the encoding is part of the document, the browser has to be able to
read it before it knows what encoding the document uses. Therefore,
the tag has to be AT THE TOP of your html document (I'll omit the
brackets around the tags so they won't cause problems for braindead
mail clients):

meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"

This works because nearly every encoding defines the characters in
those three lines identically... So a browser'll understand them no
matter what encoding it defaults to.



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