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

From: David Norris <kg9ae@geocities.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 00:08:57 -0500
To: "WAI" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001bdd62f$c9b60c40$07d628cf@illusionary.dyn.ml.org>
>>If I put an HTTP-EQUIV Content-type into a web page then (as I understand
>>it) I don't need to rely on the person who runs the server setting it up
>>to give the correct content-type for all my pages.

Well, kind of.  They might get double hits for every one of your files.
(Browser bug or feature? Hmmm.  I can only guess that the browser switches
accept languages on the second request.  I am not really clear on why there
is a second request.  IE does this, I know.  I am not sure how Nav handles
other charsets.)  Once to read the file and realize the server sent the
wrong header, and, the second to retrieve it using the equivalent header.

HEADER> Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-7
EQUIV> Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-7

Should be no different in effect.  But, it may cause unwanted problems.  I
feel that having the server send the proper headers is desirable.  One can
give users limited control over the server headers quite easily.  Busy,
lazy, or ignorant sysadmins often just don't bother to properly configure
the server, though.

I would suggest you ask the sysadmin to allow you to use an access (often
.htaccess) file or similar construct.  You could then tell the server what
content-type to send for those files, among other useful things.

Also, some servers (Such as Apache) support multilingual webs.  With this
configuration, index.html would be the server's default language page (often
English), index.html.fr would be the default page for browsers with FR
(French) as the primary accept language, index.html.es would be the default
for browsers with ES (Spanish) set as the primary accept language, etc.
This, of course, depends on proper configuration of the server.  In effect,
a French browser that requests http://someserver/index.html would seamlessly
be served http://someserver/index.html.fr with a properly configured server.
Pages without translations would use the default language version of the
page.

>I wouldn't think that was true.  The average server defaults to sending
>files as plain text for any resource it doesn't understand.  I don't
>believe that setting an HTTP-EQUIV would work if the file is binary
>(program/audio/video) and the server sends that as text.

Uh, how would you set an HTTP-EQUIV in a non-html file?  The default MIME
type on most web servers is text/plain.  However this doesn't effect how the
server transfers the file to the client.  HTTP servers send all streams in
binary mode.  The only difference, to the server, between a text file and
image, for example, is the Content-Type header.  In HTML, you have to use
the proper Content-Type to tell the browser how to interpret the binary
codes as text when you go above 7-bit US ASCII characters.

,David Norris

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Received on Wednesday, 2 September 1998 01:08:38 GMT

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