Re: Problems with & in URIs

From: Liam Quinn (
Date: Sun, Sep 19 1999

Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 20:01:01 -0400
From: Liam Quinn <>
To: "L. David Baron" <>
Subject: Re: Problems with & in URIs

"L. David Baron" wrote:
> <a href="">Today's food</a>
> Every browser I've tested this on (probably something like NN 4.x, IE
> 5.0, and Opera 3.6) handled it correctly.  I'm not sure how far you
> must go back in history to find one that doesn't.

I've tested all the major Netscape releases since 1.0N and all properly
handle &amp; in attribute values.

In testing around 30 browsers, I've only found two which fail to
interpret &amp; as & in attribute values:

- Amaya (, including the current version 2.1. 
Amaya is a rarely used test-bed browser.
- Gzilla (, including the current "stable"
version 0.2.2.  Gzilla isn't yet a usable browser.

Netscape 3.x has many, many more users than Amaya and Gzilla combined,
and Netscape 3.x gets confused in some cases when the & is *not* written
as &amp;.  For example, Netscape 3.x will fail to follow the invalid
link given by href="foo.cgi?chapter=1&section=2" since it assumes that
&sect is the entity for the section sign.  So it seems that valid HTML
is safer in this case.

Liam Quinn
A Real Validator for Windows,
Web Design Group,