About South Slavic Characters

Everything you always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!

Important note (added 1999-08-30): This document is no more up to date. New documents in Borut's literature collection were not prepared according to these guidelines. This document is expected to be updated before 1999-11-30.

There are several character coding standards one can use for documents that include South Slavic characters. Their use depends on the hardware/operating system platform used, as well as on the intended purpose. This document concentrates on the issues important for Windows platforms and documents written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

The reasons for not seeing South Slavic characters in a HTML document correctly may be:

Document Header Problem

Check the source of the document. Look for a 'Content-Type' meta line in the header. If this line is not present, then:

Document Codes Problems

A WWW HTML-compliant document that contains South Slavic characters is most probably written to be compatible either with ISO-8859-2 or MS-CP1250 standard. If no 'Content-Type' meta line is present in the header, the only way to prove definitely which of the two has been used is to search for characters s<, S<, z< or Z< and compare their codes to those cited in the above tables. These are, namely, the characters that have different code values in these two standards.

Do not believe what the document author says in some comment or note about the character set used. Test it! (I myself once stated in some 60 documents (total of 4MB) that they were coded in ISO-8859-2 standard, where in fact it was a simple Microsoft MS-CP1250! This false header infos were on-line for four months.) Do not believe the author's Content-Type meta-line (if it is there at all). Test it!

Now that you know exactly what coding scheme has been used in a document and see if meta-line corresponds to this scheme or not, you can check your browser and font setup...

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Last update: 13 February, 1998 (update note on 1999-08-30; minor change 1999-09-14)