On Nov 15, 2005, at 11:31 AM, Gaetano Giunta wrote:
Very toughtful response.
Man, I love cross-linguistic typos...makes great new English words:
"toughtful" = "tough thoughtfulness". Brilliant.
UTF-8 everywhere is fine and dandy but for 2 aspects:
- in fact XML-over-http without a charset declaration SHOULD be
assumed to be ISO-8859-1 (there is a RFC somewhere about that,
which I cannot recall now).
Hmmm. The XML 1.0 spec (http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/REC-xml-20001006)
Because each XML entity not accompanied by external encoding
information and not in UTF-8 or UTF-16 encoding MUST begin with an
XML encoding declaration, in which the first characters must be '<?
xml', any conforming processor can detect, after two to four octets
of input, which of the following cases apply.
RFC 2376, however, offers suggestions for XML MIME-types sent over
HTTP, but it reads (pardon the length):
Although listed as an optional parameter, the use of the charset
parameter is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED, since this information can be
used by XML processors to determine authoritatively the character
encoding of the XML entity. The charset parameter can also be
to provide protocol-specific operations, such as charset-based
content negotiation in HTTP. "UTF-8" [RFC-2279] is the
recommended value, representing the UTF-8 charset. UTF-8 is
supported by all conforming XML processors [REC-XML].
If the XML entity is transmitted via HTTP, which uses a MIME-like
mechanism that is exempt from the restrictions on the text top-
level type (see section 19.4.1 of HTTP 1.1 [RFC-2068]), "UTF-16"
(Appendix C.3 of [UNICODE] and Amendment 1 of [ISO-10646]) is
recommended. UTF-16 is supported by all conforming XML
[REC-XML]. Since the handling of CR, LF and NUL for text
most MIME applications would cause undesired transformations of
individual octets in UTF-16 multi-octet characters, gateways from
HTTP to these MIME applications MUST transform the XML entity
a text/xml; charset="utf-16" to application/xml;
Conformant with [RFC-2046], if a text/xml entity is received with
the charset parameter omitted, MIME processors and XML processors
MUST use the default charset value of "us-ascii". In cases where
the XML entity is transmitted via HTTP, the default charset value
is still "us-ascii".
...which implies that us-ascii, not iso-8859-1, is the default (but
not really a problem if you're encoding everything outside of ASCII).
But I know that my RDFParser class, for example, defaults to "utf-8"
and overrides that only if the encoding is specified as something
else in the xml delaration. I assume I made that decision for good
reasons, though I don't remember them now!
Still, the number of factors affecting encoding and transmission are
unbelievably complex. In my software, for example, there is:
1) Page encoding used when users submit data via a form (mine: UTF-8)
a) Default charset header sent by Apache (mine: UTF-8)
b) Default charset set in META tags (mine: UTF-8)
c) Charset setting of client browser (no control!)
2) Encoding of database (mine: MySQL 3.x, so limited to ISO-8859-1)
3) Encoding of page used to display data (Irrelevant to XML-RPC
transfers, but 1a,1b,1c apply)
4) PHP internal encoding
5) XMLRPC library internal encoding
6) XML declaration charset (optional, but highly recommended by spec)
7) text/xml MIME type charset declaration (optional, mine: text/
8) application/xml MIME type charset declaration (optional)
...and since all of them could be set to different encodings, getting
it all straight is a dizzying adventure. Add to that the complexity
of handling things like users copying text from a Word document
created in Windows-1252 and pasting into a form on a UTF-8 page,
and...ugh! Sometimes I just want to kill myself.
While I suppose that attempting to convert all data into us-ascii
through entity encoding gives us the "least common donominator"
solution -- make everything 7-bit! -- it obviously isn't working
perfectly. So perhaps any solution that simply makes it work,
regardless of whether or not it changes the use of
$xmlrpc_internalencoding, would be good. I did wonder about the
utf8_encode() function, and why you didn't simply use that instead of
$character = ("&#".strval($code).";"); Won't that do all the right
work for you?
In any case, I think you should try to make the XMLRPC library follow
as closely as possible the relevant spec/RFC "recommended" behavior,
and let that be your guide.
Adding some extra settings to client/server objects is fine, but
the causal user might not be used to using those, and backward
compatability is a primary concern to me.
Traduced in code that would probably mean adding some hacky stuff
of the sort "object default charset preference is undefined, and
while still undefined use global variable, otherwise use object
preference" (doable but ugly).
The though part is letting the client object communicate the
desired charset encoding to the xmlrpcval object, since the
responsibility of creating serialized content is left to the
xmlrpcval object itself (and I'm surely not changing that
If you converted $xmlrpc_internalencoding to a property of xmlrpcmsg
instead of a global variable, then you could simply set it to default
to "iso-8859-1" in the constructor method for the class object. So
you maintain your default, but allow users to reset it through
ps: the real (only ?) advantage of using variables instead of
constnts for things such as internal_encoding is that you can
redefine them not inside the xmlrpc lib but just after its
<?php include('xmlrpc.inc'); $xmlrpc_internal_encoding = 'UTF-16';
echo 'etc...'; ?>
this way you do not have to change anything when updating...
Ah, yes, this is true, and I hadn't really thought of such a simple
thing (but the same method holds true for using an object property).
How the PEAR people are handling this:
["According to RFC 3023 section 3.1, the encoding specified in the <?
xml encoding=... ?> tag should be ignored for XML received over HTTP
in favor of the encoding specified in the Content-Type header (e.g.
"Content-Type: text/xml; charset=iso-8859-1)."]
I found another developer reflecting on these same questions, for a
blogging app that uses XML-RPC:
Other messages about the default encoding of unspecified xml documents:
004361.html (in reverse chronological order)
spud(at)nothingness.org "as yes is to if,love is to yes"
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