[whatwg] Internal character encoding declaration

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Mon Mar 13 06:43:12 PST 2006

On Mar 13, 2006, at 16:12, Lachlan Hunt wrote:

> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> Authors are adviced not to use the UTF-32 encoding or legacy  
>> encodings. (Note: I think UTF-32 on the Web is harmful and utterly  
>> pointless,
> I agree about it being pointless, but why is it considered harmful?

Opportunity cost: The time that is spent implementing something  
pointless could be better spend doing something else--like  
implementing something useful.

Backwards incompatibility: Using UTF-32 instead of UTF-8 makes pages  
incompatible with older UAs for no good reason.

Size: UTF-32 takes more bytes to transfer than UTF-8--slow load, bad  
user experience.

>>  I'd like to have some text in the spec that justifies whining
>> about legacy encodings.
> What are your reasons for whining about legacy encodings and what  
> would you like the spec to say?

Using a legacy encoding that user agents are not guaranteed to  
support introduces incompatibility for no good reason. (I do not  
consider laziness or unwillingness to use UTF-8 good reasons.)

Even with well-supported legacy encodings form submission is problem.  
The same as incoming policy combined with an encoding that cannot  
encode all of Unicode leads to data loss.

I would like the spec to say that if the page has forms, using an  
encoding other than UTF-8 is trouble. And even for pages that don't  
have forms, using an encoding that is not known to be extremely well  
supported introduces incompatibility for no good reason.

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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