Manually Entering Special (unicode/international/extended) Characters In The URL Bar

Jan 6, 2010

I want to create a page that can read extended characters in the QueryString. While this normally is not a problem, there is one case where I don't manage: when the QueryString is manually entered (or even pasted).

Here is a simple test-case:


This works fine both when clicking the hyperlink or submitting the form. However, when you enter the special characters manually in the URL, or in some browsers even when you just highlight the URL bar and click Enter to open the page, the characters will be mangled. (You may need to empty your cache or perform a forced refresh to see these results.

In Internet Explorer 8:

Clicking the hyperlink shows the characters unencoded in the URL bar. Submitting the form shows the characters double-byte encoded (for example, the first character "å" (small letter a with ring above, unicode position 0xA5) is encoded as %C3%A5 instead of just as %A5. In both cases, the output shows the correct characters.After clicking the hyperlink (which creates an URL with readable characters), clicking the URL bar to highlight the URL and pressing Enter to open the page, shows square boxes instead of the characters as output. Note that you may have force a reload of the page to see this. The same happens when you enter characters manually in the URL bar.Highlighting the URL bar and submitting the double-byte encoded URL (as it is created by the form) shows the output as it should.Manually entering single-byte encoded characters ("%A5%B8%A6") will again show boxes instead of characters.

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