Re: character problems

Stephanos Piperoglou (stephanos@hol.gr)
Thu, 4 Jul 1996 20:23:15 +0300 (EET DST)


Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 20:23:15 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Stephanos Piperoglou <stephanos@hol.gr>
To: Martin Mueller <martinmueller@nwu.edu>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: character problems
In-Reply-To: <1.5.4.32.19960703190250.006ab5ac@merle.acns.nwu.edu>
Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.3.91.960704195512.2008A-100000@fenchurch.hol.gr>

On Wed, 3 Jul 1996, Martin Mueller wrote:

> I understand there are some solutions for this. But what if you have an
> entry form for a search? In our Library, we have the works of Nietzsche
> accessible via  a Web browser. Things are simple when you look for 'Gott' or
> 'Abgrund.' But how about the &Uuml;bermensch? Not an inviting interface.

Thank you for pointing that out! 

There are MANY liitations to the Web in general (and I mean HTML, HTTP and
CGI here). I have a form which users use to enter data in Greek. 

Now NORMALLY, and sticking to standards, I can't even write HTML in Greek.
However if you have the coreect font installed on your browser if you use
Windows, or hacking a bit into the Mac binaries of Netscape, or into the
app-defaults for Mosaic & Netscape for Unix (I know this because I have a
pet project o greek-enabled computing) you can view HTML pages written
with Greek (which are high-ascii) characters. Netscape 3.0b4 and later
supportr iso-8859-7 (greek) character sets (so hurrah, though I have no
idea how to make my pages recognizable as Greek by Netscape...  unless
every user does Options > Document Encoding > Greek one he meets my page).
Now comes the nice part... 

Even the newest versions of Netscape under Windows 95 won't let you enter
non-english characters in forms! (Win3.1 and other versions don't
recognize you're trying to do this and just let you). Plus, the CGI
script, IF you manage to write in Greek, gets the query string in %XX
format where XX is the character code in Hex. Now I use bash for my CGI
sripts (sorry, don't know Perl or too much C) so I can't translate that
into OCTAL, which is what bash uses for its non-printable echos. Nice.

The only way to write Greek is to do what most greek users do over mail,
news or whatever. Write in "greenglish", an abomination of a language
which is mainly based on writing whichever character seems more related
with the greek character you need. And some times you even gget used to
it. 

Thing is, German can mostly be represented with HTML entities and has most
characters in common with English. Greek uses an alphabet of its own...
but most researchers and software vendors seem absolutely unaware of the
plight of users such as us. I don't even want to ask what people with
alphabets with different sizes of magnitude (like Chinese or Japanese) do. 

================== Stephanos Piperoglou - stephanos@hol.gr ==================
WorldPort - my home on the Web   http://users.hol.gr/~stephanos/index.html
Hellenic Babylon 5 Support Campaign                             babylon5.html
The Alphabeton - the guide to greek-enabled computing           greek.html
                                                          ... and much more!
Official Athens College site:    http://www.gsc.net/hosted/athens_college
===== If my opinions were my employers, they'd be pretty wierd opinions =====

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