W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg-old@w3.org > May to August 1996

proposed HTTP changes for charset

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 18:38:02 PDT
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <96Jul2.183802pdt."2733"@golden.parc.xerox.com>
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/1002
I suggest making the following change, which is less controversial
than the "charset=unknown" proposal:

Current HTTP/1.1 spec:

> The "charset" parameter is used with some media types to define the
> character set (section 3.4) of the data. When no explicit charset
> parameter is provided by the sender, media subtypes of the "text" type
> are defined to have a default charset value of "ISO-8859-1" when
> received via HTTP. Data in character sets other than "ISO-8859-1" or its
> subsets MUST be labeled with an appropriate charset value.

My proposal:

< The "charset" parameter is used with some media types to define the
< character set (section 3.4) of the data. Origin servers SHOULD
< include an appropriate charset parameter for those media types which
< allow one (including text/html and text/plain) to avoid ambiguity.
< In the absence of a charset parameter, the default charset value MAY
< be assumed to be "ISO-8859-1" when received from a HTTP/1.1 server.

< Unfortunately, some HTTP/1.0 clients do not properly deal with
< explicit charset parameters for text/html data, and some HTTP/1.0
< server sites send no charset parameter, even when the charset of the
< data is not ISO-8859-1. For compatibility with older clients and
< servers, implementations may need to be careful when communicating
< with older versions, by not sending a charset parameter when the
< data is ISO-8859-1, and by allowing local configuration when
< recieving unlabelled data from HTTP/1.0 servers.

This establishes a convention that charset SHOULD be sent, but lays
out some of the compatibility constraints during the transition
period. Is this sufficient?

Received on Tuesday, 2 July 1996 18:44:29 UTC

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