Front page uses windows-1252, shouldn’t it be iso-8859-1?

I received this question:

I use Frontpage for my webpage design and FP automatically inserts the meta tag "<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">".
Should I have reference to ISO-8859-1 ?

I'm not a front page expert, and I can't answer all questions like this, however this is an common confusion.  Windows-1252 is very similar to ISO-8859-1, but they aren't identical.  Web sites and browsers have historically often treated these as equivilent, but they aren't, which is a great reason to use unicode for your encoding.  (No, I don't know how to make front page use UTF-8, but that'd be the best solution).  Looking on (of course) for iso-8859-1 and windows-1252 will find some discussion of the differences.  Wikipedia has some articles (they change so I won't quote them directly, but their encoding related articles are usually informative and often accurate.)



Comments (4)

  1. orcmid says:

    As a die-hard FrontPage user (who uses mainly UTF-8 web pages), I am happy to report (in FP 2003 but also earlier ones) that the File | Properties | Page Properties Dialog | Language tab gives complete control over this.  

    Although the default is US/Western European (Windows), you can also select US/Western European (ISO), and best-of all, UTF-8.  (The same dialog is available under Format | Properties … too.)  It looks like you can also set this and the language of pages with the Tools | Page Options so that it establishes a global default.  (My web development server is shut down right now or I would at settings that can be done by site.)

    This will set properties in the <head> of the web page.  To also have it selected in the MIME type of pages as they are served up, there are additional web site setting that can be used.  If you are able to configure those too, you will have covered all of the bases.

  2. Thanks Dennis 🙂  FP users, please do that and make your pages UTF-8 🙂

  3. Yuhong Bao says:

    BTW, if it looks strange that Windows-1252 was based on a draft of ISO 8859-1, here is a clue: Compare the dates when Windows 1.0 was released to when ISO 8859-1 was finalized.

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