IE5.0 does not conform to RFC2376

Chris Lilley chris at
Mon Apr 5 02:41:59 BST 1999

Tim Bray wrote:
> At 03:24 PM 4/4/99 +0200, Chris Lilley wrote:
> > But it need not autodetect, in fact, autodetection
> >is a bad thing. I was not suggesting autodetection, quite the converse.
> >
> >Rather, in the absence of an explicit MIME charset parameter, it should
> >use the encoding declaration. If there is none, then the document is in
> >UTF-8 or UTF-16 and the XML spec tells you how to determine which. [1].
> Just a terminology thing; I think when we say autodetection, we are
> talking about using the combination of the first few bytes and the
> encoding declaration, as described in app. F  of the XML spec. 

Thanks for pointing out this source of terminological confusion. No, I
was not meaning that.

I was meaning autodetection in the sense of reading a whole bunch of the
text and making assorted guesses based on frequency analysis and the
like. In other words, automatic detection based on unlabelled content. I
believe that this is a bad thing, because there is always the
possibility (quite high) of hgetting it wrong.

The encoding declaration, on the other hand, is not autodetection in
that sense, it is a label. A very small amount of autodetection has to
be done in order to be sure that the label has been read, that is all
(ie, is this UTF-16 or is this an encoding where ASCII is represented as

> I think
> (and I thought Chris thought) that this is a *good* and necessary thing,
> if only because lots of XML documents are read in other ways than via
> http, and because lots of times the web server simply doesn't/can't
> know about the internal arrangements of some XML resource.

Yes, this (rewading the encoding declaration) is a *good* thing, with
the proviso  that I am talking about the encoding declaration. I don't
consider this autodetection, in thre same sense that reading <?xml
version="1.0"?> is not autodetection of the version.


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