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BiDi text

From: Nir Dagan <nir.dagan@econ.upf.es>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 03:17:39 GMT
Message-Id: <199810271816.TAA10729@darwin.upf.es>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
CC: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
HTML4.0 supports the bi-directional algorithm that allows 
to write right to left scripts such as Hebrew and Arabic
"normally", that is, to type in the characters in their 
logical order. 

Before HTML4.0 documents in those languages were written 
in the visual method. That is, each line was typed in 
backwards and with a lot of HTML hacks such 
as <BR> tags in the begining of every line, lists 
marked with paragraphs and graphical bullets.

It seems to me (that's a guess) that from the point 
of view of a self voicing browser, it is impossible to 
read correctly a visually written document.

So both authors and user agents should be encouraged
to exploit the bidirectional algorithm, that allows a
more universally processable markup.

Clearly, transition will be very slow since 
logically written documents come out 
as garbage in old (read: almost all current) 
visual media browsers.

A reasonable recommendation to authors 
would be to have two versions (logical and visual)
of a website in a transitional phase,
and to user-agents to support the bi directional 


Nir Dagan                            
Assistant Professor of Economics      
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Barcelona (Spain)

website: http://www.nirdagan.com
email: nir.dagan@econ.upf.es

"There is nothing quite so practical as a good theory." 
-- A. Einstein
Received on Tuesday, 27 October 1998 13:17:10 UTC

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