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BOM and the W3C Internationalization Checker

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2012 04:16:46 +0100
To: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <20121122041646604185.6574a088@xn--mlform-iua.no>
The W3C Internationalization Checker’s[1] attitude towards the BOM is 
very questionable:

* If a page does not include a BOM (and there is no other issues
  either), then it reports "No issues to report !" on a green
* But if one does include a BOM, then it instead displays a 
  orange warning icon plus this piece of text:

  "UTF-8 BOM found at start of file
   The UTF-8 Byte Order Mark (BOM) was found at the beginning of 
   the page. It can sometimes introduce blank spaces or short
   sequences of strange-looking characters (such as )
   What to do
   Using an editor or an appropriate tool, remove the byte order
   mark from the beginning of the file. This can often be achieved
   by saving the document with the appropriate settings in the
   editor. On the other hand, some editors (such as Notepad on
   Windows) do not give you a choice, and always add the byte order
   mark. In this case you may need to use a different editor.
   Further reading "

This information is not optimal. 

First: If a page contains a BOM in the start, then it is never visible, 
as long as the parser is Unicode-compatible and as long as the the rest 
of the page adheres to the encoding signatured by the BOM.

Second: Further more, there should be no recommendation/explanation how 
to remove the BOM.

It only diminishes the credibility of the checker to issue such 
warnings and advice.

If you need to signal anything with regard to the BOM, then you should 
signal both when there is and when there isn't a BOM. For users, and 
thanks to the level of UTF-8 support these days, the badness of *not* 
including a BOM can be experienced fare more often than the badness of 
including it.

[1] http://validator.w3.org/i18n-checker/

leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 22 November 2012 03:17:15 UTC

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