Re: BOM's at Beginning of Web Pages?

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sat Feb 15 2003 - 19:38:28 EST

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    Tom Gewecke <tom at bluesky dot org> wrote:

    > --U+FEFF can appear (presumably by accident) at the beginning of any
    > web page, but aside from those two cases where it is necessary, it is
    > a ZWNBS and not a BOM. (As Michael pointed out, Mac IE 5.2.2 displays
    > a Euro symbol).

    But as I wrote earlier, a zero-width no-break space at the start of a
    Web page should not disrupt the content or layout of the page in any
    way. It's a space. It's zero-width. A Euro symbol is non-conformant
    and just plain wrong; the page starts with the bytes EF BB BF and is
    clearly marked as being UTF-8.

    > Suppose a page has no charset/encoding specified in the markup. Does
    > the presence of U+FEFF mean it should be presumed to be UTF-16? Some
    > of my browsers behave this way.

    Actually, the presence of the bytes FF FE or FE FF. You can't tell
    whether they mean U+FEFF until you've decided what the encoding is.

    IMHO, and I believe the HTML spec agrees, initial FE FF or FF FE is a
    *really* strong hint of UTF-16ness that should not be casually

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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