[b-hebrew] Hebrew in messages

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Jul 14 07:06:07 EDT 2005

On 14/07/2005 02:32, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Peter’s response http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-July/023703.html included two examples, one in Windows-1255 character set and the other in “character entities” consisting of four sets of ampersand, hash, four numbers and a semicolon. When my browser was set to read Windows Hebrew, it rendered both examples as Hebrew in the message that arrived in my mailbox. But the message as is stored on the ibiblio server has his Windows example changed to character entities, and his character entities changed to something that no browser nor email client can read as Hebrew.

I did not send character entities. There is no way that I can send 
character entities to this list (although I may have confused you by 
referring to them at the time as "character entities"), because this 
list does not accept HTML, and character entities are an HTML concept. 
What I sent was strings of ASCII characters consisting of four sets of 
ampersand, hash, four numbers and a semicolon. The archiving software 
correctly stored them as such. Your mail reader misinterpreted this 
string as Hebrew characters.

>Curiously, when I quoted Peter on http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-July/023717.html , both examples are stored as character entities (the second example was not changed) and any modern browser should render both examples as Hebrew. I wonder why.....?

That happened because you sent this message in Windows-1255 encoding. 
Your mail program misinterpreted what it received as Hebrew characters, 
and then when replying sent out Hebrew characters. It did so a legal 
encoding recognised by the archiving software, because it was able to do 
so within Windows-1255 encoding, and so did not make the illegal 
conversion to character entities.

>Apparently what is happening is that the online email client I use sends html mail (Thanks Yitzhak Sapir for clarifying  this) which is being incompletely translated to MIME and the Hebrew is lost in translation. However, I can receive Hebrew with no problem. I suspect that anyone else who uses an html email client would be able to receive Hebrew from me. Peter, your insistance that there is a bug was most unhelpful.

The messages you send, even the ones which come directly to me and so 
did not have their HTML parts stripped by the list server, are not in 
HTML format. I accept that your mail program may be composing these as 
if they were in HTML format and then stripping out the HTML. But when 
doing this it leaves the character entities in place although these 
should not be in plain text e-mail. This is the bug in your software, or 
one half of it.

Your insistence that there is a bug in the list archiving software is 
most unhelpful, not least because it is untrue.

>Peter, you mentioned that I ought to use a POP mail server. That would be MIME complient, but I often need to access my mail from different computers, making such an account not workable.

Fair enough. But there are MIME compliant webmail programs. I don't know 
if you are in any position to choose your own webmail program or have to 
use one provided by your mail service provider, presumably email.com. In 
the latter case, you should report this issue to them as a bug.

>It boils down to that I, and others using html mail, cannot send Hebrew and expect all to read it.

But, Karl, you are not using HTML e-mail. At least what you are sending 
to this list, and even to me, is not HTML. It is plain text, except that 
it includes what are intended as HTML character entities, but are not 
understood as such in plain text. I wonder, have you made some setting 
that all mail to this list is sent in plain text format? That should be 
a sensible setting, but your mail program seems not to implement it 

>When looking up the old messages today, I noticed that all my paragraphs are written on one line. That is consistant with good html coding, but makes a mess of the archives. Does MIME add a hard return after every so many characters to prevent this? If so, how wide should I make the lines?
This is another even more complex issue which I don't want to get into, 
as it is not a problem when I view your messages. Is it a problem for 
others? But it does seem to be an indication that your mail program is 
getting confused between plain text and HTML.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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