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

Re: Warnings, RFC 1522, and ISO-8859-1

From: Koen Holtman <koen@win.tue.nl>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 21:17:49 +0100 (MET)
Message-Id: <199612162017.VAA14481@wsooti08.win.tue.nl>
To: "Martin J. Duerst" <mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch>
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Martin J. Duerst:
>
[...]
>Now back to the MAIN POINT: Can anybody explain to me why
>ISO-8859-1 was choosen as a default for TEXT in headers
>and warnings? 

The TEXT encoding was US-ASCII in HTTP/1.0 (RFC1945), but it got changed
into ISO-8859-1 for HTTP/1.1 because HTML uses ISO-8859-1.  

>Given the recommendations of the IAB
>charset workshop (draft-weider-iab-char-wrkshop-00.txt),
>which repeatedly mentionnes UTF-8, this seems like a
>rather antiquated choice.

The basic choice to replace US-ASCII by ISO-8859-1 was made in April.  See
http://www.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/http/hypermail/1996q2/0062.html .  The idea
was to sync HTTP with the defaults in HTML, we did not have any i18n
considerations in mind.

As for the Warning header: we did not spend days discussing how to
internationalise the warning text field, this was just a micro-decision made
by one of the editors along the way.  Maybe it was not an optimal decision,
but we did not have the time to spend days optimising every micro-decision.

> On the other side, UTF-8
>is extremely suited for the purpose: It covers all the
>characters of the world, is reasonably compact, and
>works together smoothlessly with ASCII.

Sounds good, but you should have told us in April/May, when we were
finishing the draft.  Maybe we could use UTF-8 in HTTP/1.2 or HTTP/2.0.
There is always a next version.

[...]

>Procedural Concerns
>-------------------
>The current HTTP 1.1 draft is beyond last call, waiting for
>becomming an RFC. I do not know whether last minute changes
>can or should be made, 

If I understand the IETF process correctly, only very serious bugs can be
fixed at this point.

We cannot reverse decisions like the default charset without doing a last
call again, which would delay the draft by many months.  And we don't want
any delay, it is generally thought that 1.1 is dangerously late already.

>Regards,	Martin Du"rst.

Koen.
Received on Monday, 16 December 1996 12:20:27 EST

This archive was generated by hypermail pre-2.1.9 : Wednesday, 24 September 2003 06:32:19 EDT