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[Bug 13098] New: State that <wbr> represents the SOFT HYPHEN character (U+00AD/&shy;/&#xad;)

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2011 15:33:21 +0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-13098-2495@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=13098

           Summary: State that <wbr> represents the SOFT HYPHEN character
                    (U+00AD/&shy;/&#xad;)
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
               URL: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/text-level-semantics#the-
                    wbr-element
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P3
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org


PROBLEM: 

<WBR> and SOFT HYPHEN are equivalent, but HTML5 fails to point this out.


THE EQUIVALENCE STATEMENT:

   (1) HTML5 defines <wbr> as  "a line break opportunity". This seems fully
equivalentg to Unicode's definition of the semantics of the SOFT HYPHEN charact
as a "conditional" or "discretional" hyphen.
http://unicode.org/reports/tr14/#SoftHyphen
http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0080.pdf 

   (2) It does also seem compatible with HTML4's definition: "The soft hyphen
tells the user agent where a line break can occur." 
http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/text#h-9.3.3

   (3) Further more, at least one Unicode expert  have already identified <wbr>
as a SOFT HYPHEN:
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/HTML4.0/comments.html

   (4) Given the above, and becasue SOFT HYPHEN by default is invisible,
representing it with the <wbr> element is very similar to representing it with
&shy; or &#xad;  references: they are all simply an authoring helps to the
problem that the soft hyphen might be invisible in the code.

   (5)  And unlike for example <br>, there is no white-space affecting
dfference between representing SOFT HYPHEN as the element (<wbr>) or as the
character (directly typed or character refrence).  Thus there is  strong link
between the SOFT HYPHEN character and the <wbr> element.



THEREFORE:

Please clarify that the <wbr> element represents (or is synonymous wiht) the
SOFT HYPHEN, and explicitly state that authors may use a character references
instead of <wbr> if the author is only after a visual representation in the
code.


POSITIVE EFFECTS OF RECTIFYING THIS BUG:

 #  It would fullfill the need for a succinct explanation of what <wbr> is.
Becasue, as a result of its former obsolete/non-standard status, many
authors/developers do need such an explantion. For example HTML4 has an entire
section (3 paragraphs) about hyphenation, including the soft hyphen, where it
doesn't mention <wbr> a single time: 
http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/text#h-9.3.3 And the XHTML 1.x
specifications are not any different.

 # It would make the section on the <wbr> element authoritative. Which could
serve to remove the curren confusion and misinformation about which Unicode
character it represents. For example Wikipedia, at the time of when this bug
was filed, incorrectly stated that <wbr>, quote: "performs the same function as
zero-width space (U+200B)":
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=HTML_element&oldid=433185609#wbr
Another instance of the same misunderstanding:
http://www.princexml.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14

# It would clarify to authors that there is an alternative to using <wbr>. Such
a thing would be useful since, due to <wbr>'s previous obsolete/non-standard
status, the <wbr> element is not as well supported as - simply put - UNICODE. 
(For example it seems that PrinceXML does not support <wbr> yet, whereas it has
full and excellent support for &shy;. And, in addition, there are many
authoring tools which do not support HTML5 yet, and therefore does not offer
users to insert <wbr/> but which nevertheless supports UNICODE, and thus allows
to insert the SOFT HYPHEN character or a character reference for it.)

# It would clarify to parser engine developers as well as to authoring tool
developeres that they should treat SOFT HYPHEN and <wbr> the same way. For
example, if an authoring tool is supposed to have a single SOFT HYPHEN
insertion menu, then the the tool developer should be aware of the many
opportunities he/she has when it comes to allowing the user to insert it.

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Received on Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:33:33 UTC

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