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Dutchess_III's avatar

In HTML, what does the % (percent sign) instruct?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36142points) October 26th, 2011

We recently “upgraded” to a new teaching program. Of course there are a million bugs that need to be ironed out, and we, in the fox holes, have to do it on the fly. One of those glitches, we figured out, is that when a student enters an essay and, for whatever reason, has a % (sign) in the essay, then submits it, it comes out blank at our (the teacher’s) side. So, of course, we reassign it thinking that the student just submitted the lesson trying to get out of doing the essay, hoping we wouldn’t notice. So then, of course, the student gets upset.

OK, computer Geeks…what’s up with the % sign?

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10 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Looks like it’s thestart of an entity.


phaedryx's avatar

Sounds like a really bad bug with how the software processes entries. I doubt it is an html thing.

% % % % ← (notice that your question and my response aren’t blank)

Perhaps you could google around about your particular software?

@XOIIO entities start with &

XOIIO's avatar

@phaedryx Meh, i just said what I saw

anartist's avatar

Usually stuck in to represent a space which is not proper html

MrItty's avatar

It has absolutely nothing to do with HTML. % is not a special character in HTML in any way. The problem is whatever software you’re using to submit the assignments. For whatever reason, it’s stripping out the % characters. Often times, (very lazy) web programmers will simply strip out any non-alphanumeric characters, in an attempt to “sanitize” the data to remove actual HTML special characters (like <, >, and &). If this is what’s happening here, you should file a bug report with the creators of the software, as that is clearly not acceptable.

MrItty's avatar

@anartist % does not, and has never, represented a space character. A space character in HTML is the entity &nbsp;. A space character in URL encoding is %20, but not just a single % sign.

anartist's avatar

@MrItty in proper html yes, you are correct. of course.

actually maybe I am thinking of http—hyper text transmission protocol. You will often see it in browser headers when spaces have been used in the page name [not the page title]

Possibly a code-page conflict like western-english or utf-8?

or perhaps in some software it is used as end-of-transmission character

MrItty's avatar

@anartist you’re thinking of URL encoding. That’s the %20 I talked about earlier. That’s what you see “in browser headers”. You don’t see % by itself. You see %20 for space, you see %3C for a less-than character, etc. Here’s a full list:

anartist's avatar

@MrItty thank you. Any idea what Dutchess’s problem is>

MrItty's avatar

Yes. As I’ve already stated, it’s a bug in the software her company purchased. That company is the one who has to fix it.

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