Re: pre-HTML5 and the BOM

From: Leif Halvard Silli <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2012 17:23:47 +0200

Jukka K. Korpela, Tue, 17 Jul 2012 17:31:46 +0300:
> 2012-07-17 17:11, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>>> For instance, early on in 'the Web', some appeared to think
>>>> that all non-ASCII had to be represented as entities.
>>> Yes indeed. There's still some such stuff around. It's mostly
>>> unnecessary, but it doesn't hurt.
>> Actually, above I described an example where it did hurt ...
> The situation is comparable to the BOM issue. In the old days, it was
> considered (with good reasons presumably) safer to omit the BOM than
> to use it in UTF-8, and it was considered safer to use entity
> references rather than direct non-ASCII data. It has changed now, but
> people are conservative, and people read old warnings.

Good point.

> We should now say that BOM is not required in UTF-8, but it is safer
> to use it, unless you have good reasons not to use it (e.g.,
> authoring environment that dislikes it). Similarly, character data
> should preferably be in UTF-8, unless you have good reasons (mostly
> on the authoring side, not clients) to avoid it an use entity and
> character references instead.


>> I have discovered one browser where it does hurt more directly: In W3M,
>> the text browser, which is also included in Emacs. W3M doesn't handle
>> (all) entities. E.g. it renders &aring; and &#229; as an 'aa' instead
>> of as an 'å', for instance.
> To take a more modern example, the native e-mail client on my Android
> seems to systematically display character and entity references
> literally when displaying message headers with small excerpts of
> content, even though it correctly interprets them when displaying the
> message itself.

To quote one W3m slogan: 'Its 8-bit support is second to none'. W3m is
a quite modern text browser. It is regularly updated, it can be used
with emacs, and is the text browser I would recommend.

Elinks does a decent job as well, when it comes to giving the another
editor - VIM - the capability to open web pages directly from an URL
... So I don't subscribe to the 'modern' thing, quite ...

Leif Halvard Silli
Received on Tue Jul 17 2012 - 10:27:27 CDT

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