IE5.0 does not conform to RFC2376

David Brownell db at
Sun Apr 4 22:16:12 BST 1999

Chris Lilley wrote:
> David Brownell wrote:
> > Chris Lilley wrote:
> > >
> > > What this RFC appears to do is remove author control over correctly
> > > labelling the encoding, and ensure that most if not all XML documents
> > > get incorrectly labelled as US-ASCII.
> >
> > Not at all.  The best default MIME content type for all web
> > servers is "application/xml".
> Why? Do you consider anything not written in US-ASCII as a text
> document? I think the Unicode Consortium would disagree with you there.

No, and that's not what I said:

For a single world-wide default; that's easily understood by overworked,
underpaid, often untrained sysadmins; and hence is NOT error prone (!!),
there's a simple answer that's guaranteed to work right everywhere that
pays more than lip service to industry standards), and hence is "best".
Namely, that servers report XML documents as "application/xml".

You seem to want to argue about the MIME definition of text as being
ASCII, if otherwise unqualified.  True, it's dated -- but it really
does nobody any good to try imposing incompatible changes on such a
foundational standard.  The Web doesn't need that sort of confusion.

> ... in fact, autodetection
> is a bad thing. I was not suggesting autodetection, quite the converse.

This seems like a new tangent:  "autodetection is a bad thing".

Are you proposing that the XML specification be revised to eliminate
the several kinds of autodetection it's got?  Note that that'd mean
there's no way in general to read encoding declarations; folk need to
autodetect to distinguish e.g. ASCII supersets (UTF-8, ISO-Latin-*,
Shift_JIS, etc), EBCDIC encodings, UTF-16, and so on.  So your
preferred algorithm can't be implemented without autodetection.

> Rather, in the absence of an explicit MIME charset parameter, it should
> use the encoding declaration. [else default to UTF-8/UTF-16 per spec]

That is _exactly_ the behavior specified for "application/xml"; now,
what exactly is your reason for thinking it's not the best default for
most everyone to use??

- Dave

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