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   Encoding detection again ...

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  • From: Miles Sabin <msabin@cromwellmedia.co.uk>
  • To: "'xml-dev@ic.ac.uk'" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 11:58:43 -0000

I've been browsing throught the archives for an
answer to this question, but I haven't been able
to find anything that seems to give a completely
unambiguous answer ...

Appendix F of the spec say that given a document 
starting with the 4 octet sequence,

  00 3C 00 3F

I'm to infer BOM-less big-endian UTF-16, and 
given a document starting with,

  3C 00 3F 00

I'm to infer BOM-less little-endian UTF-16.

What I what to know is: why could these 
sequences not equally represent (respectively)
big-endian UCS-2 or little-endian UCS-2? In
other words, surely these octet sequences are
ambiguous, and hence the encoding should be
resolved definitively with either,

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>


  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-10646-UCS-2"?>

or an appropriate MIME header, ie.,

  Content-type: text/xml; charset="utf-16"


  Content-type: text/xml; charset="ISO-10646-UCS-2"

Just so there's no confusion ... I'm assuming:

1. Unicode == UTF-16
2. UCS-2 != UTF-16 (because UCS-2 lacks UTF-16's
   support for characters outside the BMP).

Miles Sabin                          Cromwell Media
Internet Systems Architect           5/6 Glenthorne Mews
+44 (0)181 410 2230                  London, W6 0LJ
msabin@cromwellmedia.co.uk           England

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