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Re: ISO-8859-1 and meta-tags, etc

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 20:11:39 +1000 (EST)
To: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980827175716.6733C-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Interesting one for the guidelines. If the character set is clearly 
specified (I think the best way to do this is to use HTTP-EQUIV) then it 
<EM>should</EM> be fine to use the characters directly.

When I am at home I use a system which uses 7-bit ASCII, and does not cope 
with the characters very well. This is a legacy problem, and I don't know 
how widespread it is. I know that when I am communicating with 
Scandinavians (I have an interest in Medieval Scandinavian History), 
especially Icelanders, I have problems. (So do they - hooked-o is not in 
ISO 8859-1, which is the most common character set I think).

In general I would come down on the side of using the characters, but 
this is related to the 'ASCII art' guideline, because there are times 
when I would suggest using 'quoted-printable' techniques - for example 
the vietnamese character made of a letter a, with a circumflex or caret 
character (^) and an acute accent (') is represented in VNI (the common 
standard in Vietnam itself, although not outside it) as  (A capital E 
with a circumflex/caret) in ISO 8859-1. If I were at home I would get 
something else again. It was common to use a^' or a+^' to represent this 
character on 7-bti ASCII based systems. I don't know if this is a good 
or bad thing for blind users - one problem may be a lack of appropriate 
software to map the characters properly. This is where the i18n activity 
seems to cross over the WAI.

Also, In an ideal world, authoring tools would allow switching between
characters and entitiy representations. But we don't live in one. 

just some thoughts

Charles McCathieNevile

On Thu, 27 Aug 1998, Kristopher Walmsley wrote:

> The Institute on Independent Living has certain sections of the site
> translated to Swedish.
> My question:  In writing meta-tags; table summaries; image ALT
> descriptions, etc. do I need to use the ISO-8859 entity for the Swedish
> characters (i.e. &auml;) or can I just write the character as it appears
> ( - "a" with an umlaut)?
Received on Thursday, 27 August 1998 06:34:54 UTC

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