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Unicode and old browsers

The use of Unicode is definitely a good thing, especially when you publish in a non-English language. But I'm a little worried about old browsers. Many, non-technical, people does still have the browser that came with their computer years ago and I don't want these people to think that my company can't even spell right anymore.
Does anyone know how far back browsers do understand UTF-8?

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

I think netscape starts in 4.5, but may need manual preference settings. I think the problem will be less in Europe... these old browsers don't know the € symbol (€)

My suggestion: check for browser type in javascript or server side and then add a warning message to the page. It is better for all of us that those browsers become extinct!

Adriaan van den Brand
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Adrian, I agree with you that old browsers can't get extinct fast enough and that checking for browser and having a warning pop up in older browsers could speed up the process. But it is my experience as a consultant to "ordinary" people that the ones that need upgrades the most are the same that don't even know that the program they are using is called a browser – and they are too many for a significant part of business just to ignore.
Right now I'm glad I kept CD1 alongside CD2, but using the old version clearly isn't what I want in the future. I was perfectly happy with <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> but I guess it's out of the question to turn Unicode on and off in CD2 depending of the site you are editing?

... And by the way: Unfortunately not all European countries use Euros yet :-(

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

See the detailed list (and instructions for enabling in older browsers) at .

Mike Gunderloy
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Mike, thank you very much for the link. Just what I was looking for.

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Now, having studied the Unicode-"problem" further I have to say that the use of UTF-8 is not without problems if some of your intended users do *not* have: a) browsers above v4.5 - b) the ability to set preferences right in their browser and/or have the right fonts installed on their computer.

And it does not end there. I have the latest versions of IE, Netscape and Mozilla installed and they show the various test pages differently.

You can find test pages and further explanations here:

For example Mozilla show all Zapf Dingbat letters while IE doesn't show any!

I realize that this is not a problem if your users are technically minded, but if they are not you could be in more or less trouble.

I would very much like to see a Fog Creek comment on this since UTF-8 will be the base upon which all CD2 pages are builded.

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

... build.

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

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