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Re: PROPOSAL: i74: Encoding for non-ASCII headers

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 10:19:09 -0700
Message-Id: <D29EDBBB-C5A1-4219-940D-D41BA0130238@gbiv.com>
Cc: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
To: Martin Duerst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>

On Mar 26, 2008, at 10:28 PM, Martin Duerst wrote:
>>>> We are simply passing through the one and only defined i18n  
>>>> solution
>>>> for HTTP/1.1 because it was the only solution available in 1994.
> "The only solution available in 1994" is a far stretch. Unicode
> was available then. But I agree that the choice, in 1994 terms,
> wasn't as bad as an idea as it looks now.

Unicode was available but unusable as a superset of ASCII. UTF-8 was
defined but not published to the people who would actually use it.
Fonts were conceived but not distributed.  No matter how you spin it,
Unicode did not become a legitimate choice worldwide until 1995
(when both Win95 and Java started distributing the beginnings of a
usable UTF-16 support), and did not become usable in text headers
until UTF-8 was popularized by folks outside Uniforum much later.

In any case, UTF-8 would have been chosen today if we could get
four people to implement it instead of just talking on IETF lists.
The standard specifies iso-8859-1 because that is what all
implementations implemented at that time, not because it was the
most popular choice of standards mavens.  I don't care what the
encoding of TEXT is in HTTP so long as there are implementations
that are interoperable.

Received on Thursday, 27 March 2008 17:19:53 UTC

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