Content-type headers as META HTTP-EQUIV (for charset)

Stephanos Piperoglou (
Sun, 22 Sep 1996 23:36:38 +0300 (EET DST)

Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 23:36:38 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Stephanos Piperoglou <>
Subject: Content-type headers as META HTTP-EQUIV (for charset)
Message-ID: <>

My boss (head of the Web design group here) recently sent out a gay little
message to the staff saying "You know, MSIE has this great little feature
for automatically selecting document encoding!". The syntax he proposed was:

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="text/html ; charset=windows-xxxx">

Where xxxx was some number for Greek. To which I replied that this is not an
MSIE feature but an HTTP feature, as well as the complications that arise,
and that I'd mailed him about changing our server configuration to sending
out that content type three months ago and gotten no answer.

But anyway here are my questions:

First, it's blatantly obvious we should scrap windows-xxxx and use
iso-8859-7 instead.

Second, is a Content-Type HTTP header valid after the user agent starts
recieving this content? Shouldn't this be done on the HTTP header rather
than appended to it through META?

Third, although I've got Dan Conolly's "Character Set Considered Harmful" on
the next virtual console, and I've had an admitedly casual peek at the
various Internationalization stuff, should I use this as more or less a hack
to let CURRENT browsers recognise that the pages are written (mostly) in
greek, i.e. in iso-8859-7? I can't use things like LANG so I need something
that will switch most major browsers (NSN, MSIE, Lynx, Mosaic, Emacs-w3,
Arena) to iso-8859-7. Please offer your expertise.

 If my opinions were my employers', they'd be pretty wierd opinions.
         Stephanos Piperoglou <*> 
"I want peace on earth and good will toward man"
"We're the United States Government, we don't do that sort of thing!"
                              - Whistler and Abbot from `Sneakers'

                                            ...oof porothika! (tm)