HTML Encoding (Character Sets) is an important concept to understand when developing web pages. Character encoding is a way of representing characters using a numeric code that can be interpreted by a computer. The character set determines which characters can be used in an HTML document, and how they should be represented.
HTML documents are required to use a specific character set, which is defined in the document’s meta tags. The most commonly used character set is UTF-8, which can represent almost all characters in the world. Other character sets include ISO-8859-1, which is commonly used for Western European languages, and Shift-JIS, which is commonly used in Japan.
Here are some key differences between character sets:
- Range of Characters: Different character sets support different ranges of characters. For example, ISO-8859-1 only supports characters in the Western European alphabet, while UTF-8 can support characters from any language.
- Size of Characters: Different character sets use different numbers of bytes to represent characters. For example, UTF-8 can use up to 4 bytes to represent a single character, while ISO-8859-1 only uses 1 byte.
- Compatibility: Some character sets are not compatible with each other. For example, if a document is encoded in ISO-8859-1, it may not display correctly if viewed using a browser that expects UTF-8.
To ensure that your HTML documents are properly encoded, it is important to specify the character set in the document’s meta tags. Here is an example of how to specify the UTF-8 character set:
It is also important to use the correct encoding when creating files that will be used in HTML documents, such as image files and text files. Most modern text editors and image editing software allow you to specify the encoding when saving files.
In addition to specifying the character set, it is also important to use HTML entities to represent special characters in your HTML code. HTML entities are a way of representing characters that cannot be represented using the standard ASCII character set. For example, the HTML entity for the copyright symbol is “©”.
Here are some common HTML entities:
- & – Ampersand
- < – Less than
- > – Greater than
- ” – Quotation mark
- ‘ – Apostrophe
Using HTML entities can help ensure that your HTML documents are properly encoded and can be viewed correctly in any browser.