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Question on ServletResponse CharacterEncoding

D. Ogranos
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Joined: Feb 02, 2009
Posts: 214
I have a question about sending a text response from a servlet. One way to do this would be

Now I was reading about the PrintWriter you get with response.getWriter() to send text data. I think it would look something like this:

I am not sure a) what length I would need to set for ContentLength, and b) I wonder if the Writer automatically uses the encoding I set with setCharacterEncoding(). It seems to me the method using the OutputStream is safer than the Writer, because you explicitely state the encoding you want to use, and the length of the content..
D. Ogranos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2009
Posts: 214
I can at least answer my second question now. The PrintWriter obtained with getWriter() has no methods to set an encoding, and uses the default platform encoding (which is defined in java.nio.charsets.Charset.defaultCharset() and apparently cannot be easily changed either). So it seems that its only safe to use getWriter() if you're sure that the text to write doesn't contain any special characters.

I still don't see what value I should use with setContentLength() however.
Michael Angstadt
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Joined: Jun 17, 2009
Posts: 277

It automatically sets the Content-Length header to whatever the size of your output is. You don't have to manully set it as far as I know.

I was going to say that you can set the encoding with PrintWriter...but you can only do this in the constructor, which you obviously never call, since you get the PrintWriter by calling getWriter().

EDIT: Also, you don't need to call flush() flushes the response automatically.

I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Question on ServletResponse CharacterEncoding
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