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Characters in the HTTP content part

Wherever possible, a POST method should be used when international characters are involved.

This is because:

  1. The web browser records the way it has encoded the content data in the MIME headers that precede the content itself,
  2. The web server uses this MIME header to apply the correct decoding to the character content,
  3. There are no (practical) limits to the amount of data which can sent in this way (URL lengths may be limited by the buffers in some web/proxy servers)

The HTTP Content-Type header is used to tell the web server's Servlet classes which encoding was used. By the time the characters are made available to the Servlet as a String it is in the Unicode encoding used by Java.

International characters in URLs

A typical URL looks like:


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