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 does not contain all the necessary
- Document codes do not comply with the standard specified
in the document's header, or comply with some 'standard' that is perhaps no
standard at all.
- Your browser
is not capable of interpreting and reacting
to the coding information from the document's header.
- Your font
(that your browser uses as a correct action
on the document header information) does not correspond to the standard
used in the document.
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:
- It means that you can test the document only on-line.
If you save it and try to read it, the chances are your
browser will not know that a special font is to be used.
- If the server on which the document is published does
not provide the right Content-Type information, and this
information is lacking in the document header too, than
the maintainer of the document has definitely made a serious
- You might wish to notify the maintainer of the document
of this problem. You might also wish to save the document
at your place and add the necessary meta-line
to its header, in order to be able to read it correctly from
the saved copy. To do this, you have to be sure which
coding scheme has been used in the document... see below.
Document Codes Problems
A WWW HTML-compliant document that contains South Slavic characters
is most probably written to be compatible either with
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
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)