About This Web Site: Character Encoding

All text on this web site is encoded in UTF-8 (UCS Transformation Format-8) which is a form of universal character encoding. UTF-8 is part of the Unicode Standard -- the ideal character repertoire for any platform or system anywhere in the world. Unicode was chosen because:

  • Unicode is the only available universal character set;
  • Unicode allows characters to be referenced independently of the medium;
  • The Unicode Standard is carefully maintained;
  • Unicode is widely accepted and implemented by industry;
  • Unicode is the default character encoding of XML and, by extension, XHTML.

If certain characters on this web site are rendered as question marks or diamonds or a combination of both such as � then the browser has either been set to recognise a specific character encoding other than Unicode or it is a very old application that does not support the standard. To correct this, the character encoding in the ‘View’ menu should be set to ‘Auto’. For the more popular browsers, the setting is specifically:

  • Internet Explorer -- Auto-Select;
  • Netscape Navigator -- Auto Detect > Universal;
  • Mozilla -- Auto Detect > Universal;
  • Mozilla Firefox -- Auto Detect > Universal;
  • Opera -- Automatic Detection.

All well-formed web pages are required to declare character encoding on loading so the browser will use this setting to re-adjust character encoding from one web site to another.

If the browser is not Unicode enabled, such as a very old version of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator for example, then an upgrade to a more recent version is strongly recommended. Upgrades of browser software are generally available free for download from the manufacturers.

Note: Rendering of special Turkish characters and a select group of typographic devices is ensured by the explicit use of Numeric Character References (NCR) in escapes throughout the text. NCR escapes have the effect of ‘bloating’ HTML source code because several characters are required in order to ensure the rendering of a single character. For example, ‘ğ’ is the NCR escape for ‘ğ’. As a result, the file size of Turkish pages on the web site is approximately 130% of the equivalent English versions. During beta-testing the effect of the increased file size on the download speed of Turkish pages was judged to be neglible.

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