[whatwg] Hyphenation

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Tue Feb 10 05:40:12 PST 2009

Markus Ernst writes:

> Ian Hickson schrieb:
> > I don't think this is a big enough problem to deserve solutions more
> > complicated than the soft hyphen at this time.
> Jukka Korpela stated that the intention of the soft hyphen is not 
> actually a hyphenation hint:
> http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shy.html

He claims that there are multiple standards that contradict each other.
So whatever is implemented is bound to contravene at least one of them.

However he mentions that:

* HTML 4 defines it as a hyphenation hint.

* Unicode defines it as a hyphenation hint.

* Recent browsers are now treating it as a hyphenation hint.

* The contradictory standard (ISO-8859) only defines a soft hyphen when
  used at the end of a line, namely that it should be rendered like a
  hyphen.  Since that standard doesn't envisage the character being used
  elsewhere, it is silent on how it should be rendered.

It seems to me that choosing to render invisibly a soft hyphen which
isn't at the end of a line doesn't contradict the text of ISO-8859
(though it could be argued to contradict its spirit).

> (Anyway I don't really understand the difference between a normal
> hyphen and a soft hyphen then...)

Suppose you are reflowing some text (perhaps because you are quoting
it); words which were broken over lines in the original may want
rejoining into a single word in your version (that is, the soft hyphen
disappears); but hyphens (non-soft) between two words need to remain.  


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