Thu, 27 Jul 2006
Hotmail and UTF-8
A new user of IS MU has redirected her e-mail to Hotmail [?], and complained that mail from IS MU is not displayed correctly (the diacritical characters were wrong). I wondered whether it was true, and even tried to create a Hotmail account for testing purposes.
After accepting at least 50 cookies from their authentication service, they have finally accepted my registeration. However, I could not log in, the web site said some internal error message (I have tried it once again, and it returned me back to the login screen). I then tried to use MSIE from our remote desktop server, and I have been able to log in. So it seems MSIE is the only browser allowed to access Hotmail.
I have sent a test mail to this new mailbox then. It contained a text in Czech, and two words in Japanese (Katakana and Kanji). It ended up in the spambox in my Hotmail account, and even there it was not displayed correctly. So it seems that Hotmail cannot correctly handle mail with Czech or Japanese language. I have not found the "display all headers" option on Hotmail, so I cannot even verify if the headers arrived correctly to Hotmail.
Moreover, the mail from that user of IS MU (sent from Hotmail) was broken itself - it contained characters outside of US-ASCII, yet there was no mention about the transfer encoding, MIME version, or character set of the mail body in the headers. Talk about respecting the widely-accepted well established standards.
I have recommended the user to use a different mail service, preferably somewhere where they can be standards-compliant.