Re: UTF-8 in web pages

From: A. Vine (
Date: Fri Feb 05 1999 - 13:28:42 EST


I have 2 client/server applications whose interface to the user is HTML. As
difficult as it is to deal with, I chose to use native encodings for the pages
for the following reasons:

1. Not all currently used versions of browsers support UTF-8 pages.
2. Even if the browser supports it, not many folks have a Unicode font loaded.
3. The app is designed for access from anywhere, which is why we use HTML. The
likelihood of a random machine (someone else's in another office or home,
laptop, cyber cafe, library, etc) having UTF-8 browsing capabilities is low.

I wish Unicode were more universal, but at the moment the information from our
non-US offices (particularly in Asia) is that this capability is not widely
available to end users yet.

Andrea Vine
Sun Internet Mail Server i18n architect

John O'Conner wrote:
> I have a client that has a requirement to support several
> languages on their website and e-commerce store. I want to
> help them manage the storage of information and dynamic web
> pages by suggesting a common character set for all
> languages...Unicode.
> It seems like a no-brainer to select Unicode for my database
> character set because of their multi-language needs.
> However, I'm concerned about Unicode in web pages. I have
> browsed several UTF-8 pages with success, but I notice that
> the industry hasn't really picked up on UTF-8 as an HTML
> content encoding. Do any of you have any success/failure
> stories that you can share? How comfortable would you be
> recommending UTF-8 for HTML content. Oh, here's one more
> piece of information...the customer has traditionally used
> Big 5 for all their encoding needs. Actually...they've used
> an extension for their special chars in Hong Kong that don't
> seem to be available in Big 5.
> Regards,
> John O'Conner

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