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Character encoding

From: HTML5 First Look

Video: Character encoding

There are a lot of things that go into the HTML code of web pages that most authors don't pay a moment's attention to. In the previous movie, doctype are a good example of this. Most authors either copy and paste the doctypes into new files or used authoring programs that put them in for them. Character encoding is a lot like that. Character encoding is how your browser takes the binary data sent to it and translates that into characters on the screen.

Character encoding

There are a lot of things that go into the HTML code of web pages that most authors don't pay a moment's attention to. In the previous movie, doctype are a good example of this. Most authors either copy and paste the doctypes into new files or used authoring programs that put them in for them. Character encoding is a lot like that. Character encoding is how your browser takes the binary data sent to it and translates that into characters on the screen.

Take a look at this sample of code from an HTML 4 document. Well, you've probably seen that before, but have you actually ever really paid attention to it and what it's doing? Well, usually the http header handles character encoding, but in some cases, that header can be unreliable. To deal with those instances, authors began putting character encoding within the web page as a way to control how their pages were translated. In this snippet of code you see here, a meta tag is being used to explain that an HTML document has been sent and encoded using utf-8 encoding.

The browser will now know how to accurately translate and render characters in the document. Now the above code works just fine and is still valid HTML. However, the HTML5 specification has simplified it to make life a little bit easier for everyone. Let's go ahead and check that out. So I have opened up the trails. htm file from the 03_06 folder. It kind of picks up from where we left off. Now it has the older document encoding in it. You can see it's using a meta tag and we've got all those different attributes.

Let's go and simply that by using the HTML5 specification definition for character encoding. So the first thing I am going to do, I am going to keep the meta tag. I am just going to get rid of all the content inside of it. So I'll just go ahead and have an empty meta tag there. The next thing I am going to do is use a new attribute, the character set attribute. So charset and I am just going to say equals, and then in my quotation marks I am going to type in utf-8. Now, if you need to use a different type of encoding, go ahead and do that. You can also, if you're a big fan of the XHTML way to do single closed tag, you can do that, although the HTML5 specification is also just fine with that as well.

So you can really close that tag anyway that you see fit. So the content attribute is no longer required. We just need our character set attribute. We tell it which type of encoding we want, and that's all we need. We're going to go ahead and save that file and there you go. That's quick and very painless. Again, the previous syntax would still work. So if you want to leave it in there, you're fine to do that. The new syntax in HTML5 makes it a little easier to remember and much faster to write as you can see. No matter which syntax you prefer, always remember to add character encoding to your files.

It's incredibly important.

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This video is part of

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HTML5 First Look

50 video lessons · 75973 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 50s
    3. Who is this course for?
      1m 5s
  2. 21m 12s
    1. Exploring prior standards
      4m 26s
    2. Why do we need HTML5?
      3m 32s
    3. HTML5 timeline
      4m 24s
    4. Current HTML5 support
      4m 25s
    5. What HTML5 is (and what it isn't)
      4m 25s
  3. 27m 49s
    1. HTML5 vs. HTML4
      3m 25s
    2. New structural tags
      6m 1s
    3. New content tags
      4m 7s
    4. New application-focused tags
      5m 32s
    5. Deprecated elements
      4m 28s
    6. API overview
      4m 16s
  4. 22m 29s
    1. Content models
      5m 33s
    2. Understanding the outline algorithm
      3m 21s
    3. The role of ‹div› tags
      4m 20s
    4. Using ID and class attributes
      2m 6s
    5. DOCTYPE declarations
      4m 16s
    6. Character encoding
      2m 53s
  5. 41m 27s
    1. Basic page structure
      3m 40s
    2. Structuring top-level elements
      7m 30s
    3. Structuring interior content
      8m 42s
    4. Building headers
      9m 11s
    5. Checking document outlines
      5m 46s
    6. Ensuring cross-browser structure
      6m 38s
  6. 27m 53s
    1. New input types
      5m 57s
    2. Setting form autofocus
      2m 53s
    3. Using placeholder data
      4m 4s
    4. Marking required fields
      3m 24s
    5. Working with number inputs
      5m 49s
    6. Using date pickers
      5m 46s
  7. 1h 1m
    1. Canvas overview
      6m 21s
    2. Adding canvas content
      8m 58s
    3. Drawing in the canvas environment
      12m 9s
    4. Drag-and-drop API overview
      6m 18s
    5. Offline applications overview
      7m 11s
    6. Video overview
      5m 45s
    7. Encoding video
      8m 23s
    8. Adding video
      5m 58s
  8. 57m 33s
    1. Geolocation API overview
      5m 50s
    2. Web storage API overview
      5m 40s
    3. WebSockets overview
      4m 16s
    4. CSS3 overview
      6m 38s
    5. Enhancing typography with CSS3
      7m 42s
    6. Using @font-face
      7m 11s
    7. Styling HTML5 with CSS3
      10m 23s
    8. Using CSS3 transitions
      9m 53s
  9. 5m 6s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 49s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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