Re: browsers and viewing page source, same?

From: Martin J. Duerst (
Date: Fri Jul 18 1997 - 09:56:35 EDT

On Thu, 17 Jul 1997, Mark Bishop wrote:

> Hi,
> While doing some research on Meta tags (description and keywords),
> in using my browser which has the correct language font and charset
> and displays correctly, when viewing the page "source" the text
> doesn't look the same.
> Why doesn't the source look the same? Is it not using the browser's
> charset or what exactly? For example, in viewing a page in Spanish it
> display correctly, but after viewing the source of that page and
> looking at the Meta tags, the text is garbled with lots of
> semi-colons and "&" characters.

There are two points here:

- Depending on configuration and platform, the browsers use an
        external application for "view source". This external
        platform may not be familliar with the HTTP/HTML conventions
        to figure out "charset" and so on, and so things might
        get messed up.

- Besides encoding characters in the "charset" of the document
        (i.e. directly as bits and bytes), HTML has other ways
        of encoding characters. For u-Umlaut, for example, you
        can use a character entity (ü), a (decimal) numeric
        character reference (ü), or soon in HTML 4.0 a
        hexadecimal numeric character reference (ü). These
        are part of the source and should be shown as such in
        "view source".

As you say you got lots of "&" and ";", it's probably the second
case you are dealing with.

Regards, Martin.

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