I have a swedish keyboard, and i use å ä ö to write articles for example. Dreamweaver’s design view can read them but as soon as I preview in broswer it looks like this, all these wierd signs is either å ä ö - Idag hÃ¥ller jag fortfarande pÃ¥ att bygga hemsidan som inom kort tid Ã¤r klar.
Sometimes it works on some websites I have and sometimes not, on this it dosent, but on my other it shows it. So its like sometimes yes and sometimes not, And it dosent matter if I write it fom the code view.
9 times out of 10, that meta is redundant (as long as you are using latin-only English characters). But anytime you go beyond A-Z, 0-9 and punctuation marks, you should always specify an encoding (usually UTF-8 is your safest bet).
Also, declaring the meta tag helps avoid an unusual (and unlikely) hack, known as the UTF-7 hack.
search for “utf-7” to specifically read about it.
For this reason my meta tag is the first thing in the <head>, even before the title. Joel also mentions how browsers will stop at that tag and go back knowing they are reading things now with the right encoding (never mind that what the server states in the HTTP Header always takes precedence… sometimes that Header isn’t there at all). So I might be saving a nanosecond of time for the browser : )