[b-hebrew] Hebrew in messages

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Jul 9 23:51:01 EDT 2005


Only once have I sent you Hebrew encoded as character entities. All the other times, I wrote Hebrew, at least once specifically encoded as UTF-8, and somewhere between my screen and yours it was translated to character entities. Yet when you replied, quoting my Hebrew which was changed to character entities, my browser rendered it as Hebrew. Even the time I specifically wrote out the character entities, your quote of it was rendered as Hebrew when I looked at your reply.

When I looked at http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/i/t/t0101.htm both Camino and Safari read the third line down in the html to find <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1255"> and automatically read the rest of the page as Windows Hebrew. Hence it read the page as a Windows document, not unicode. When I tried to read it as unicode, all the Hebrew was rendered as question marks.

As for the B-Hebrew archive software, it changed the Windows-1255 encoding  to character entities. No problem there, as all browsers should be able to render that correctly. However, it changed character entities to html text strings which no browser can render as Hebrew. That is definitely a bug in the program. The program should read character entities without changing  them to html character strings. Secondly it should read UTF-8 coding correctly.

I just looked at the source of http://www.cvkimball.com/Tanach/Genesis.DH.xml and that one has the Hebrew encoded as UTF-8, as defined by the first line <?xml version = "1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> but, interestingly enough, the source for the document includes the complete book of Genesis.

To summarize:

A non-standard encoding scheme like Windows-1255 requires a Windows aware browser in order to render it correctly. Secondly, the browser needs to be set to Windows Hebrew.

Not all mail programs can render character entities correctly.

There is a bug (or more) in the archive program that changes character entities to html text strings. I have no idea what it would do to UTF-8 encoding. But seeing as it changes Windows-1255 to character entities, I am not hopeful.

I was hoping that mail programs would be able to send and receive UTF-8 coding, except for ancient ones like PINE ....  ;-) I find the transcription scheme difficult enough when reading consonants only. When vowels are added, I sometimes fail to recognize what is being written, then the addition of accents makes it too unwieldy to understand, I merely look up a Hebrew text which I can understand. If we could show the Hebrew text in our email messages, that would be a big improvement. But apparently that day is not here yet.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> On 08/07/2005 21:21, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > Peter:
> >
> > I just noticed something. While checking up some other settings 
> > on my browser, I noticed that I had set the language encoding to 
> > “Hebrew (windows)”. When I set the language encoding to UTF-8, 
> > Hebrew written in Windows-1255 encoding is displayed ????
> >
> > instead of &#1488;&#1489;&#1490;&#1491;
> >
> >
> No Hebrew letters in this message. The first line is question 
> marks, the second codes starting with "&".
> But then this is what I would expect, because the encoding of your 
> message in Western (Windows-1252). You can send Hebrew characters 
> in plain text e-mail only if the character encoding supports 
> Hebrew, i.e. is one of the specific Hebrew encodings like 
> Windows-1255 or else UTF-8.
> > Now does the second line still show 
> > &#1488;&#1489;&#1490;&#1491; or does it show 
> > Hebrew letters?
> >
> > Hebrew encoded as character entities Camino rendered as Hebrew 
> > letters, both when encoded as Hebrew (windows) and as UTF-8.
> >
> > An example of character entities follows:
> >
> > &#1488;&#1489;&#1490;&#1491;
> >
> > How does that render in your browser or mail program?
> >
> >
> I still see explicit character entities, i.e. codes starting with 
> "&", in my mail program which is displaying a plain text e-mail.
> > What I noticed is that when you encoded Hebrew as character 
> > entities, somewhere between your screen and the B-Hebrew 
> > archives, the coding was changed from character entities to 
> > string encoding. I don’t know where the change came from, but it 
> > is clearly recognizable when looking at the page source. What you 
> > wrote as Windows-1255 encoding is stored on the B-Hebrew archives 
> > as character entities. What are your settings?
> >
> >
> >
> I never sent character entities, except when I was quoting what you 
> sent to me; I sent Hebrew characters in Windows-1255 and/or UTF-8. 
> It is possible that the archiving program has internally converted 
> them to character entities (which you would see when looking at the 
> page source) when it incorporated the plain text e-mail into an 
> HTML page. But in that case your browser should display Hebrew 
> characters. But I don't think the archiving program has done 
> anything wrong.
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

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