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12 August 2010

Weblogic Encoding Issue

Trying to deploy some RSS feeds as .jspx views on a WebLogic 10 server, I noticed that it mangled all UTF-8 output. This was part of a Spring MVC web-application. The problem was that on my local development server (Apache Tomcat 6.0) everything rendered fine, but on the WebLogic server all non-ANSI characters were not outputted correctly.

In Firefox, I saw something like: <summary>Formaci�n</summary>. The byte sequence for the strange character was 0xEF 0xBF 0xBD and I seemed to get that for all UTF-8 chars that I was supposed to receive in the tests I was conducting (á, ó, í). I checked the content-type and encoding in Firebug and it seemed ok (Content-Type: application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8).I later found out that is the Unicode Replacement Character U+FFFD and that the problem was probably caused by the fact that the server, although told to output UTF-8, sent out ISO-8859-1.

The fix came from my .jspx files, more specifically the page directive tag. What surprised me was the fact that the order of attributes in the .jspx page directive matters! Initially I had this:

    < pageEncoding="utf-8" contentType="application/xhtml+xml" />

This doesn’t work, because you also need to specify the charset in the contentType attribute:

    < contentType="application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8" pageEncoding="UTF-8" />

The above line works and determines the correct encoding. But, to my surprise, if you switch the order of attributes it doesn’t work:

    < pageEncoding="UTF-8" contentType="application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8" />

I don’t know where this is coming from, but, in my opinion it’s a bug in WebLogic. I’ll open a bug-report.You can also find details about this issue on my Stackoverflow post. Thanks to BalusC for the help.