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From Skating Jim <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] AddDefaultCharset and Multiple Encodings
Date Thu, 02 Feb 2006 06:25:45 GMT
--- Nick Kew <> wrote:

> On Wednesday 01 February 2006 05:41, Skating Jim
> wrote:
> > The basis for my comment is that the Apache
> > documentation for AddDefaultCharset says:
> >
> > "This should override any charset specified in the
> > body of the response via a META  element, though
> the
> > exact behavior is often dependent on the user's
> client
> > configuration."
> That's just FYI.  What matters is not the Apache
> documentation,
> but the public internetworking specs: RFC2616
> (HTTP), and the
> MIME one whose number I don't recollect without
> looking it up.
> So what the apache documentation is really telling
> you is how
> an Internet-compliant browser works.  It qualifies
> that by noting
> that some browsers may be broken.
> -- 
> Nick Kew

I agree that this is a browser issue, but the W3C HTML
4.01 specification document very clearly specifies
that charset attributes in HTML elements take highest
priority, followed by Content-Type META tags, followed
by HTTP header charsets.  The XHTML1.0 specification
also gives prioity to META tags over HTTP headers.

The HTTP RFC 2616 says in section 3.4.1 that
"recipients MUST respect the charset label provided by
the sender...".

I don't see a real inconsistency with this since its
applicability is limited to the HTTP header.  The HTTP
specification doesn't attempt to make rules about how
specific content types might override its settings. 
Unfortunately it seems many/most browser implementors
got scared by the shouting "MUST" and forgot to think
about the ramification of ignoring the HTML/XHTML
specifications.  The "FYI" in the Apache documentation
is directly in conflict with the W3C HTML and XHTML
specifications because it explicitly says the HTTP
header should override HTML META elements.

Until browsers improve (better FYI's and HTTP spec
verbage might help encourage this), the
AddDefaultCharset directive can't be used if
Windows-1250 and ISO-8859-2 coexist on the same


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