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Re: " question

From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 08:49:49 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Cultimo <jeroen-g@bigfoot.com>, <www-html@w3.org>
At 10:56 AM 07/10/98 +0200, Cultimo wrote:
>The special characters beginning with '&' are used to make it possible to 
>read one text in the HTML format on different platforms.

Not really.  Character entities are used where the character is in a
different encoding than the document (e.g., using &alpha; or &euro; in an
ISO-8859-1 document) or where the character should be interpreted literally
and not as HTML markup (&lt;, &gt;, &amp;, and sometimes &quot;).
Character entities may also be used as a convenience for characters that
are difficult to enter on some keyboards (e.g., &copy;, &agrave;).

>When they are 
>not used and the text is presented as is, strange things can happen with 
>signs that should be represented with '&euml;', '&agrave;', etc.

I've found that if strange things happen, they happen with both the
character entity and the actual character.  This indicates a problem with
the client and its settings.

There is nothing wrong with using the actual 8-bit character instead of
&agrave; or &copy;.  You just have to be more careful if you are editing
the file on non-ISO-8859-1 platforms like the Mac.  (If you do or ever will
edit your files on a Mac, it'd be easier to use character entities for
8-bit characters.)

>quotation mark sign is also part of these special signs ('&quot;'). 
>Probably this is done to differentiate between the quotation mark used in 
>html codes (<a href="my.htm">). But in my experience the code and the 
>sign are interchangeable .

In most cases, yes.  You only really need the character entity when you
want to use a quotation mark within an attribute value that is delimited
with quotation marks:

<A HREF="mlk.html" TITLE="King's &quot;I Have a Dream&quot; speech">"I Have
a Dream"</A>

>So: is it valid (probably not) and if so: will it remain valid to use the 
>actual quotation mark instead of &quot; in texts?

Yes and yes.  You can check the validity of your HTML at

Liam Quinn
Received on Wednesday, 7 October 1998 08:50:09 UTC

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