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Re: end of sentence spaces

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 22:14:21 +0300 (EEST)
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.50.0307212203140.21788-100000@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Mon, 21 Jul 2003, Chris Moschini wrote:

> None of the recommended implementations could correctly space the
> above. It may be that the best way to provide sentences that can change
> spacing is to define every sentence explicitly by wrapping it in some
> set of tags (perhaps span).

That's what you would do now if you really wanted to have extra spacing
after a sentence.

> This would bloat your HTML terribly, however... .

Well, maybe, especially since the obvious candidate, <s>, has historically
been reserved for a much more important purpose, namely to act as a
concise synonym for <strike>. :-)

It could actually be a very good idea in principle to use sentence markup,
since the sentence structure is not decidable from textual content using
reasonably simple algorithms. If such markup existed, we might like to
have sentence-spacing (since normal padding properties are not quite
enough). But this is hardly realistic.

What _might_ be realistic is the definition of a full stop (period)
character that has more specific semantics than the traditional Ascii
perio. But you would have to talk to the Unicode consortium about a
proposed "sentence period" character, and allow a few years for
standardization and quite some more for actual implementation. And then we
would have the fact that "?" and "!" are ambiguous too. Besides, then we
would need a CSS construct that allows us to assign CSS properties to
characters, perhaps using some kind of pseudoelements (like :char(...)).

So it does not look like very realistic. The sad implication is that
people who _really_ want that extra spacing will keep or start using
tricks like &nbsp;.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 21 July 2003 15:14:24 GMT

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