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Problem input Arabic text in HTML form using UTF-8 and Netscape

From: Mislav Kos <mkos@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 09:43:18 -0600
To: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF57CF1F73.19E83F67-ON86256B22.0055FC4F@raleigh.ibm.com >
Hello,

I'm hoping some of you out there might be able to lend me some expertise in
regards to entering and displaying Arabic text in HTML forms using Netscape
browsers and the UTF-8 encoding.

I'm developing a web site that will feature English, French and Arabic, and
maybe additional languages in the future. Since my site will feature
characters from multiple alphabets on any given page, I would like to use
UTF-8 encoding. A native Arabic encoding such as iso-8859-5 or Cp1256 would
be sufficient if Arabic and Latin alphabets were the only ones that would
ever be used. However, I would like to keep the design flexible enough so
that the introduction of additional alphabets in the future (for example,
Japanese) would not be a big deal. According to the information I've
gathered on the web, Unicode's UTF-8 encoding would meet this requirement.
UTF-8 allows for multiple alphabets to be displayed on the same page.
Unfortunately, UTF-8 is a relatively new encoding with limited support in
older browser versions. For example, when I open the HTML file included in
this email below in my 4.72 Netscape browser, the text that's shown in the
HTML form is incorrect. The text right above it, on the other hand, is
correct. Furthermore, if you try to type Arabic into the text field, you'll
get incorrect letters.

I'm using Numeric Character References to display the Arabic text. I got
the idea from http://www.hclrss.demon.co.uk/unicode/htmlunicode.html.

<html>
     <head>
          <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;
charset=utf-8">
     </head>
     <body>
          <!-- this shows up correctly -->
          &#1567;&#1576;&#1613;&#1779;
          <br>
          <form>
               <!-- this shows up incorrectly and typing Arabic text
doesn't work either! -->
               <input type="text" value="&#1567;&#1576;&#1613;&#1779;">
          </form>
     </body>
</html>

I would appreciate your help very much. Thanks in advance,
Mislav Kos
Received on Friday, 14 December 2001 10:44:54 GMT

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