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Charset support (was: Accept-Charset support)

From: Klaus Weide <kweide@tezcat.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 23:06:57 -0600 (CST)
To: Francois Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>
cc: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.961212221133.29454H-100000@xochi.tezcat.com>
Some small correction/addtition, which is _not_ meant in any way to
defend HTTP 1.1 w.r.t. Warning headers:

On Thu, 12 Dec 1996, Francois Yergeau wrote:
> Do you mean that unsupported, fictitious statement that ISO 8859-1 is
> somehow the default for text documents transmitted through HTTP?  

At least the Lynx code has tried to take that statement seriously, for
display of text without an explicit charset.  Yes it is possible to
use it in the way described below, but is is at least made slightly
inconvenient (by requiring a special toggle or command line flag, which
cannot even be saved as a user preference).

> I hope
> everyone on this list realizes that this is wrong, that everybody and his
> brother sets his browser to default to whatever charset is appropriate to
> one's language, that every server assumes the data it gets from a form is in
> the same charset as the form itself.  Web history notwithstanding.
> 
> Or do you mean the statement that one can assume that all HTTP clients
> support ISO 8859-1?  Again, this is patently false; try Lynx on a
> non-Latin-1 terminal.

Lynx definitely supports ISO 8859-1, whether a Latin-1 terminal is in
use or not.  In the latter case, for a choice of several Display
Character Sets, it translates from Latin-1 to the terminal's code
page, and displays replacement characters (or strings) for those
characters of U+00A1 .. U+00FF which are not available on the terminal
(e.g. "oe" or "o" for "", " 1/2" for "".).  It is my understanding
(resulting from recent responses on this list) that for UTF-8 support,
GUI browsers will also have to resort to replacement representations
(unless they _really_ have access to a set of glyphs for the full BMP
repertoire), so they will become more like Lynx<G>.

> I voiced those concerns at the HTTP-WG meeting at the last IETF, starting
> what was later called the "charset flap".  It ended when Roy Fielding's
> poorly thought-out assertions overruled my verifiable arguments.
> 
> The argument of being consistent with a false statement about a fictitious,
> universally disregarded default seems rather weak to me.

Not universally.

   Klaus
Received on Friday, 13 December 1996 00:06:56 GMT

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