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From "Craig R. McClanahan" <>
Subject Re: Jsp compile option for Big5 encoding / encoding question
Date Mon, 03 Dec 2001 08:02:38 GMT

On Mon, 3 Dec 2001, Jim Cheesman wrote:

> Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 09:11:56 +0100
> From: Jim Cheesman <>
> Reply-To: Tomcat Users List <>
> To: Tomcat Users List <>
> Subject: Re: Jsp compile option for Big5 encoding / encoding question
> At 01:53 AM 03/12/01, you wrote:
> >This default is required by the Servlet and JSP specifications, so it is
> >not configurable.
> So why did they decide against unicode??? Shouldn't that be the standard?

Does your browser support Unicode directly?  Do you really want to pay
16-bit output (or potentially more, for future versions of Unicode)
overhead for every single character?

> Quick question (vaguely off topic?) re. encoding:
> The situation:
> We have a database (at the moment either SQL Server 2000 or DB2) with
> non-ascii data included (Spanish and French characters, mainly). We have to
> serve XML pages from this, and are using jsp and tomcat 4.0 to do so. The
> pages generate correctly, but are not visible using M$ IE 5.x/6.0 if the
> encoding is set to UTF-8. If we set the encoding to ISO8859 it all works fine.
> Why? Is this a problem with IE5? Or what?

Pages must be actually rendered in the character encoding you say that
they are encoded with.  For your purposes, that means that you must either
encode the characters (in your database) in the same character set that
you set on output, or you must perform the appropriate conversions in your

In addition, your browser (or OS, depending on platform) must be
configured to support the characters you are interested in.  For example,
I needed to support Japanese output characters (with a UTF-8 character
encoding).  This still didn't work on my Windows laptop until I had
downloaded and installed the Japanese font, and configured my browser

> (And out of interest, what encoding is used in each stage?)

JSP pages follow these rules:

* If you declare a "pageEncoding" attribute on your <%@ page %>
  directive (supported in JSP 1.2 only), that character set is used
  to read the text of the page itself (as the page is being compiled).

* The character encoding from the contentType attribute of the
  <%@ page %> directive is used, if present

* If neither of the above is set, ISO-8859-1 is assumed.

For servlets, the rules are slightly simpler:

* If you specify a character encoding in the setContentType() setting,
  it is used.

* Otherwise, ISO-8859-1 is assumed.

> Jim

Craig McClanahan

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