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Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Encoding on the Internet

10: Tweaking Browsers to View Improperly Coded Sites

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There are several things a developer can do to make viewing a non-Roman script site more difficult, but there are some workarounds for the user.

A. Encoding is not Specified

Problem

If no encoding is declared with the special meta tag, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. You will see Roman alphabet gibberish instead of the foreign script.

Examples

Browsing Solution

Under the View menu, change the Character Set/Encoding/Character Coding (depends on browser) from Western to the proper encoding.

Development Solution

Always include the encoding meta tag, even for plain vanilla English (ISO-8859-1) Web sites.

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B. Web Site specifies an unavailable font.

Problem

Some non-English Web sites specify a font which may not be available on all machines, especially on Macintoshes.

For instance, many Web sites specify Arial or some other special font which has the proper characters on Windows machines, but not on Macintosh (System 9). As a result, there are a large number of Web sites readable on Windows machines, but not always on a Macintosh (especially Mac users with Netscape 4.7)

NOTE: OS X users will not experience as many problems.

Examples

Many Russian Language Web sites (problem prevalent in other languages as well)

NOTE: These Web sites are readable on most Windows machines, but not Macintosh/Netscape 4.7.

Browsing Solution

If you encounter this problem, you will need to set your browser preferences to always use your own specified fonts, overriding any font specifications a browser. Follow the instructions foe each browser

Development Solution

Avoid specifying specific fonts whenever possible. In an HTML editor such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver, the font should be set to "Default." See the Fonts and Scripts Tips page for addiitonal tips.

In some cases, you may be able to use graphic images as substitutes for buttons or special text.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:41:29 EDT