Character encoding

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I'm preparing a site for a client which includes several pages
containing Cyrillic characters. I used the UTF-8 charset, but the
Cyrillic characters appeared as question marks (and, oddly, some
Chinese characters as well.) I tried every Cyrillic charset I could
find and nothing worked.

I usually just hand-code all my PHP and HTML, but I swallowed hard and
went to Dreamweaver CS3, searched around, and found that I could set
each file's encoding to UTF-8 using the Modify => Page Properties =>
Title/Encoding command.

Now it works fine, but I don't really understand what the command did.
It didn't add any code, and it didn't change the http-equiv tag. In
fact, I have to perform the command on every file that is included in
the PHP file.

So: a) what exactly did Dreamweaver do, and b) how could I have hand-
coded whatever it is?

Thank you in advance.

(Also posted in alt.html -- my apologies if I've violated etiquette.)

Re: Character encoding

Mambo Bananapatch wrote:
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Well it all depends on what exactly you do when you say "I used the
UTF-8 charset" or "I tried every Cyrillic charset"? Have you used an
editor that supports saving as UTF-8 (or a Cyrillic charset) and have
you used it so that it saved your documents as UTF-8 (or a Cyrillic
charset)? That is all what you need to do to ensure your files are
properly encoded. Then, when serving them over HTTP you need to make
sure the server sends a HTTP Content-Type response header indicating the
used charset as a paramter e.g.
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8


    Martin Honnen /

Re: Character encoding

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Thanks Martin, that's exactly what I did. Dreamweaver saved the files
with the correct encoding, and I used the response header you
suggested, and all's well.

I guess my question was more about what Dreamweaver did; if I were to
hand-code a page with Cyrillic characters, and didn't have access to
Dreamweaver, how would I encode each file? And why must I encode each
file, in addition to including the UTF-8 Content-Type response

I just wanted to understand what I was doing.

Thanks for your time.


Re: Character encoding

On Sun, 27 Apr 2008, Mambo Bananapatch wrote:

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You do not write with a pencil, do you? You have some editor
(word-processor, etc.) on some operating system on some computer.
We don't know what they are - but you know. Your editor saves
files in some character set, such as




Unicode UTF-8

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I don't understand what this question means.

What's the most irritating thing on Usenet?

Re: Character encoding

Andreas Prilop wrote:
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I wonder if Mambo is confusing file encoding with an http-equiv
declaration in a file.

Mambo, when you save a text file, you're not actually saving letters;
you're saving numbers that correspond to letters. 65="A", and so on.
(Well, yeah, it's actually saved in bits, which are actually electrical
charges...) Your text editor and my browser know how to turn those
numbers into letters to display the file. This mapping of characters to
numbers is the file's "encoding." There are many standard encodings. In
order for my browser to read you file, it needs to know which encoding
you've used; it needs to know what scheme you used to translate letters
into numbers, so that it can use the same scheme to turn numbers back
into letters.

Normally the browser learns what encoding to read by the server's HTTP
headers. An http-equiv declaration in an HTML file is a way to override
a server's content-type (encoding). You only use this if your server
isn't serving files with the correct content-type.

If I'm wrong and you already knew this stuff, I apologize.

Stardate 8333.3

Re: Character encoding

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It doesn't override it-- if both are present, the server header wins.

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Yes, or because you're using file:// urls during development.

Re: Character encoding

On Thu, 1 May 2008, David Trimboli wrote:

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No, it is not. See

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