Character Encoding UI in Firefox

There seem to be five ways to set character encodings in Firefox.

  1. Options > General > Languages > Default character encoding
  2. View > Character Coding > Auto-Detect > (select a language or "Off" or "Universal")
  3. View > Character Coding > More > (select an encoding)
  4. View > Character Coding > Customize > Active character encodings
  5. View > Character Coding > (select an encoding)

What do these options do? How do they interact? How can the options and how they interact be made more clear in the UI, or even in Help? Note that I only have a vague idea of what a character encoding is and why a user would need to select one.

Google didn't get me far. Help in Firefox only says "View > Character Coding: Allows you to manually change the character encoding on a Web page. Firefox usually does this automatically." Bug 181541 comments 61 and 62 helped me understand a little.

4 Responses to “Character Encoding UI in Firefox”

  1. Prognathous Says:

    How about the following changes:

    * Under Auto-Detect, change “Off” to “Use Default ()”

    * Under Character Coding, change “More >” to “More Encodings >” and “Customize…” to “Customize List…”

    If I find the time, I plan to tackle the last two changes in Bug 52157


  2. Prognathous Says:

    My comment got messed up, by “Use Default ()” I meant “Use Default ({intl.charset.default})”


  3. jgraham Says:

    Isn’t mpt great?

  4. mpt Says:

    Ha! I was just about to post the same link, though without the adulation of course. (For more informative entertainment, later in that thread I dared to teach Netscape’s chief encoding person how encodings work. )

    After three and a half years, the one thing I’d change about that design would be to remove the Cancel and OK buttons, making it an instant-apply window so you wouldn’t have to keep reopening the window when you were trying to find an encoding that worked. That’s how it’s implemented in Epiphany ( ), though they unfortunately had to add a redundant “Close” button to follow the Gnome HIGs.