[whatwg] Requiring the Encoding Standard preferred name is too strict for no good reason

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Jul 1 16:16:29 PDT 2013

On Tue, 26 Mar 2013, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> In various places that deal with encoding labels, the HTML spec now 
> requires authors to use the name of the encoding from the Encoding 
> Standard, which means using the preferred name rather than an alias.
> Compared to the previous reference to the IANA registry, some names that 
> work in all browsers but are no longer preferred names are now errors, 
> such as iso-8859-1 and tis-620. Making broadly-supported names that were 
> previously preferred names according to IANA now be errors does not 
> appear to provide any utility to Web authors who use validators.
> Please relax the requirement so that at least previously-preferred names 
> are not errors.
> zcorpan suggested
> (http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/whatwg/20130325#l-920) allowing
> non-preferred names for non-UTF-8 encodings. I'm not familiar with the
> level of browser support for all of the non-preferred aliases, but I
> could accept zcorpan's suggestion.

The reason that ISO-8859-1 is currently non-conforming is that the label 
no longer means "ISO-8859-1", as defined by the ISO. It actually means 
"Windows-1252". Previously, this was also somewhat the case, but it was 
only an error to use ISO-8859-1 in a manner that was not equivalent across 
both encodings (there was the concept of "misinterpreted for 
compatibility"). This was removed with the move to the Encoding spec.

It seems bad, and maybe rather full of hubris, to make it conforming to 
use a label that we know will be interpreted in a manner that is a willful 
violation of its spec (that is, the ISO spec).

I would rather go back to having the conflicts be caught by validators 
than just throw the ISO spec under the bus, but it's really up to you 
(Henri, and whoever else is implementing a validator).

Given the above context, do you still think we should make ISO-8859-1 
unconditionally valid?

If it is, I'll change the various places in the spec that refer to 
encoding names to also allow any of the encoding labels.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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