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Re: Language (in)dependent hyphenation properties

From: Clive Bruton <clive@typonaut.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 02:58:23 -0100
To: <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1299467913-100719207@mail.indx.co.uk>
Bob Virkus wrote at 02/12/98 18:28

>As a designer and  typographer from the old school and a web designer
>from the new school, I have one basic thought on hyphenation on the Web
>- don't. Especially if it is a means for offering justified text.

Eeuch, what could be worse, justified text on a low res monitor :-)

>That being said, if hypenation must be an option, some of the things to
>consider include:

It seems it isn't, at least not in CSS, the only mention is in HTML 4.0. 
Where you effectively have a discretionary hyphen (hy&shy;phen rather 
than hy-phen). Which isn't much use to anyone as it means that the setter 
of the text has to enter all of them (I guess you could set a script to 
analyse the text and do this for you based on an existing dictionary - or 
maybe not).

>What of the four approaches is to be taken towards hyphenation? 

In addition to the methods you discuss, maybe browsers could have the 
option to turn hyphenation on or off?  Also, maybe hyphenation 
dictionaries would come with the browsers, you could add further language 
support by downloading those of your choice (is hyphenation a Roman 
script thing, or does it occur in other scripts too?).

Alternatively, browsers could use the text processing powers of things 
like ATSUI or OpenType (do they have built in hyphenation routines?) thus 
putting such tasks in the realm of the operating system, which is 
probably preferable.

>Quality typography is still a craft and attention to detail must be
>paid.

Amen.


-- Clive
Received on Wednesday, 2 December 1998 21:59:00 GMT

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