The soft hyphen (SHY) is useless in HTML

Jukka Korpela (
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 14:03:14 +0300 (EET DST)

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 14:03:14 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Jukka Korpela <>
Subject: The soft hyphen (SHY) is useless in HTML
Message-ID: <>

Since the soft hyphen is so often mentioned in the context
of hyphenation, I made some study and came into the
following conclusion:

   There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the soft hyphen
   character (abbrev. SHY, HTML notation &shy;). Although the ISO Latin 1
   standard (ISO 8859-1) makes things perfectly clear, saying that it is
   a _visible hyphen, to be used in a specific context_, people in the
   Web community commonly regard it as hidden hyphenation hint. These two
   views are incompatible.

   The misunderstanding is probably caused by the strong needs for
   hyphenation of Web document. These needs are very real, but it is
   incorrect to try to answer to them in a manner which violates the
   character code standards. Moreover, explicit hyphenation hints can
   play only a very small role in the solution of the hyphenation
   problem, and the (mis)use of SHY would not even be the best way of
   giving hyphenation hints. 

For my arguments and asome additional notes, see