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Encodings on the Internet

Posted on 2003-10-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-09
This question is about web pages encoded with UTF-8. If I use the tag
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="type-html"; charset=utf-8">
everything is fine (IE displays the page correctly).
But is this the only form of Unicode IE accepts? I tried "charset=unicode-1-1" and it didn't work. What are the encodings today's Internet supports? Couldn't find this anywhere clearly explained...
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Question by:campinas
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seanpowell earned 500 total points
ID: 9633740
Here's a couple of good links for you:

A list of the character sets that IE can use:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/workshop/author/dhtml/reference/charsets/charset4.asp#charsets4

An explanation (in traditional W3C style):
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/charset.html

There's some specific info available for the UTF-8 standard at - you guessed it:
http://www.utf-8.com/
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by:campinas
ID: 9636827
Thank you!

I found the first link (Microsoft) most useful. However, I tried the charset label "unicode" for a UTF-16 page and it didn't work. Maybe the endianness was wrong.

Meanwhile I found this article

http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/utfencodingforms/ 

on forms of unicode, very good albeit rather old.

I'd conclude that the safest web page encoding for me is UTF-8, for these reasons:
- it covers all languages (like any form of Unicode)
- it is optimized for Roman based languages
- most text editors have an option for a default UTF-8 file save
- Word saves rtf and htm in UTF-8
- endianness is fixed (no worry about choosing that)
- it is supported by all browsers (I think), not like UTF-16
- it is definetely the dominant form of Unicode today, so why bother with what'll be tomorrow
- although it's slower with indexing, the difference may not be significant (?) with fast processors

If I was wrong or missed something, please correct.
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Expert Comment

by:seanpowell
ID: 9650466
Jeez - sorry for the delay. You've pretty much nailed everything and absolutely UTF-8 is the best bet in your case - and nicely done.

Thanks,
GM
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