[whatwg] Custom elements and attributes

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Sun Nov 5 09:31:17 PST 2006

At 08:17 -0500 UTC, on 2006-11-05, Elliotte Harold wrote:


> The specific problem is that an author may publish a correctly labeled
> UTF-8 or ISO-8859-8 document or some such. However the server sends a
> Content-type header that requires the parser to treat the document as
> ISO-8859-1 or US-ASCII or something else.

Exactly in what sense would it be "correctly labelled" then?

> The need is for server administrators to allow content authors to
> specify content types and character sets for the documents they write.

Absolutely, yes. And my impression is that that's mostly the case already.
With Apache they can typically configure their part of the server through
.htaccess. Alternatively, if they use something like PHP, they can use that
to generate the proper HTTP header. Both are relatively common knowledge
amongst reasonably professional Web authors these days. For things like
blogs, the engine behind it can ensure proper Content-Type headers be

I think that only leave locally running HTML generators (like Dreamweaver,
etc.) that tend to at best insert a META HTTP-EQUIV, and servers that do not
allow authors to configure them properly. I think both these cases are about
authoring tool quality, not the realm of a HTML spec.

The only room I see for a HTML spec to say something about this is that you
could have it require that both [1] authors provide an appropriate META
HTTP-EQUIV Content-Type and [2] servers use that to generate an appropriate
HTTP Content-Type header. That's how, I'm told, this META HTTP-EQUIV was
meant to work initially. But in practice (almost?) no webservers do this, and
thus the insertion of a META HTTP-EQUIV often leads to situations with 2
conflicting Content-Type claims. So if you add such a requirement to the HTML
5 spec, you'll need make sure that server authors are on your side.

Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/>

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