Offtopic: Web Standards Project

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Aug 11 18:10:06 BST 1998

Toby Speight wrote:

> Well, I'm sure there would be plenty here who'd like to know.  ASCII
> is a 7-bit character coding scheme - nothing more, nothing less.  The
> term "8-bit ASCII" could be used to refer to any of a number of 8-bit
> codes which coincide with ASCII for values under 128: ISO-8859-1,
> ISO-8859-2, ..., ISO-8859-9, ISO-2022-JP (I think), the Windows and
> Macintosh character sets, and others.

ISO/IEC 8859-1 is, or was, reimplemented as an American National
Standard under the title "8-bit American Standard Code for Information
Interchange", i.e. "8-bit ASCII".  (I can't find this in the current
ANSI catalog, so it may have been revoked in favor of 8859-1.)

However, this has nothing to do with the charset name "US-ASCII",
which refers only to 7-bit ISO/IEC 646:1991, which is the same as
7-bit ASCII, ANSI X3.4.

> [BTW, when using US-ASCII as an entity character encoding, must one
> declare it as UTF-8, and use other means to ensure that multi-byte
> characters don't occur?]

No, you can declare it as "US-ASCII".  In theory, parsers may throw
a fatal error because they don't support that encoding.  In practice,
no parser is at all likely to do so.

John Cowan		cowan at
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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