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[Bug 12242] New: Make UTF-16 an invalid encoding in Polyglot Markup

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Sat, 05 Mar 2011 02:39:04 +0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-12242-2495@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=12242

           Summary: Make UTF-16 an invalid encoding in Polyglot Markup
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
               URL: http://dev.w3.org/html5/html-xhtml-author-guide/html-x
                    html-authoring-guide.html#character-encoding
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML/XHTML Compatibility Authoring Guide (ed: Eliot
                    Graff)
        AssignedTo: eliotgra@microsoft.com
        ReportedBy: xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org, eliotgra@microsoft.com


* According to HTML5,  HTML-parsers must as minimum support UTF-8
    and Windows-1252.
   http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/parsing.html#character-encodings-0
* While according to XML, XML-parsers must as mininum support UTF-8
   and UTF-16.
* Polyglot Markup, though, "prefers" UTF-8 (based on HTML5's UTF-8
   preference, one should think), but else follows the XML approach and 
   permits both UTF-8 or UTF-16.

AS A RESULT, it becomes possible to author "polyglot markup" that works fine in
XML-parsers, but which isn't required to work in all and any HTML-parser.

We should not declare mark-up that isn't required to work in a HTML-parser as
"polyglot markup". Hence we should conclude that UTF-16 should not be a
recommended encoding for Polyglot Markup.

   Discussion:

* It was suggested early on, e.g. by e.g. Sam Ruby, that UTF-8 should be the
only recommended encoding for polyglot markup. And this can be a very useful
suggestion. For instance, it would become a very useful way to "force" many
HTML editing programs to default to UTF-8, one should think. It also meets
HTML5 which says that new documents SHOULD default to UTF-8.

* However, the problem is to justify *exclusion* of UTF-16 by inference from
the specs. Because, the use of UTF-16 does not seem to break with the
principles behind Polyglot Markup, as laid out in its introduction:
  
http://dev.w3.org/html5/html-xhtml-author-guide/html-xhtml-authoring-guide.html#introduction

* Permission to use UTF-16 in polyglot markup is logical, for instance because

   - UTF-16 can be reliably detected via the BOM, in both XMLand HTML5
  -  though HTML5 says that, quote: "Using non-UTF-8 encodings can 
      have unexpected results on form submission and URL encodings,  
      which use the document's character encoding by default", the use of 
      non-UTF-8 probably creates form problems in XML-on-the-web
      too. Thus XML and HTML are probaly in same boat here - and 
      hence it does not seem logical to use against UTF-16 that some 
      form submission problems could occur.

* That said, the problems with non-UTF-8 *should* carry *some* 
    weight: e.g. those form submission problems could cause greater 
    problems in XML and it is a small irriation that it is not permitted/
    possible to use an  explicit character declaration in UTF-16 encoded
    documents.

However, the fact that HTML-parsers aren't required to support UTF-16, is a
more fundamental nail in the coffin.  

Can it have any real-world effect? Not so much when it comes to "big" browsers
- they support multiple encodings. But for "simpllistic" parsers of differnent
kinds, it could probably have an effect.

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Received on Saturday, 5 March 2011 02:39:06 UTC

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