Re: Line breaking (<NOBR>, <WBR>)

Paul Prescod (papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca)
Mon, 22 Jul 1996 10:10:38 -0400


Message-Id: <1.5.4.32.19960722141038.00740604@csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 10:10:38 -0400
To: "Keith Calvert Ivey" <kcivey@cpcug.org>, www-html@w3.org
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Subject: Re: Line breaking (<NOBR>, <WBR>)

At 08:45 PM 7/21/96 -0500, Keith Calvert Ivey wrote:
>How would one use a style sheet to do the equivalent of <NOBR>? 
>Something like
>
>    <SPAN CLASS=PHONE>+1 703 683 0683</SPAN>

That's exactly right. You will get all kinds of neat side effects from
explicitly marking up phone numbers. For instance, people with
telephony-smart browsers can click on the phone number to dial it. People with 

In a perfect world, you could invent and use a <PHONE> element, but HTML is
not that flexible.

>with PHONE indicated as nonbreaking in the stylesheet?  Or 
>perhaps 
>
>    <SPAN CLASS=NOBREAK>H-P</SPAN> calculators

Well, in this case you would use <SPAN CLASS=ACRONYM> or an <ACRONYM>
element, but the basic idea is right. Again, you get lots of side benefits.
Speech browsers can know not to pronounce H-P as "HUP" or "H DASH P". You
can link the acronym to an expansion (or at least readers can know that it
_is_ an acronym and that they can go look it up themselves if need be). 

Is there ever a good reason for NOT breaking something up that is NOT
related to the semantics of the word that should not be broken up? If not,
style sheets will handle it.

>As for <WBR>, I don't see how style sheets would handle it. 
>Does the style definition include a list of the characters
>after which line breaks are allowed?  If so, then if "/" were
>defined as one of them, we'd need a nonbreaking slash (for,
>say, "1/2") as well as the nonbreaking space and hyphen.

WBR is more difficult, and I have to admit that I am not sufficiently
familiar with the internationalization issues to say for sure that this
should be done in style sheets. In English I think that automatic
hyphenation is possible. In other languages, I don't know. It could be that
WBR is a really a sub-word level semantic markup tag...it describes word
segments. One benefit of word segment markup would be smart hyphenation.
Another would be proper indexing of words that are spelled the same but have
different roots. I'll defer to those who have studied this issue in this
forum in the past.

 Paul Prescod