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[Bug 16001] New: Clarify bidi aspects of <wbr>

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 15:24:56 +0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-16001-2495@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Clarify bidi aspects of <wbr>
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
        OS/Version: Linux
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: aharon.lists.lanin@gmail.com
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,

The <wbr> element is currently described as follows: "The wbr element
represents a line break opportunity." There is no indication in this
description of its effects on the bidi ordering of the content around it. One
might think that it has the same effect as as <br>, or as U+FFFC OBJECT
REPLACEMENT CHARACTER, or as as a space, or as a zero-width space, or as
nothing at all. It turns out that these are very different possibilities. Nor
is it clear whether it has the same effects when it actually breaks the line
and when its opportunity is not acted upon. 

Experimentation with current versions of Firefox, Chrome and IE show that they
interpret <wbr> differently. In IE, at least when <wbr> does not wrap the line,
it seems to have no effect on the bidi ordering. In Firefox and Chrome,
however, it has the same effect as a space. Thus, they display <div
dir=rtl>12<wbr>34</div> as 3412. In IE9, it is displayed as 1234 (which seems
to me to be a lot more useful).

If one looks closer at the spec, in the default style sheet section, one gets
more information on <wbr>, though. The style sheet says:

wbr { content: '\200B'; }

U+200B, the ZERO WIDTH SPACE, is of bidi class BN, which effectively has no
effect on the bidi ordering of the content around it. This is consistent with
what IE does, but not with what Firefox and Chrome do. Strangely enough,
however, while Firefiox and Chrome display <div dir=rtl>12&#x200B;34</div>
correctly, as 1234, IE 9 displays it incorrectly, as 3412...

It would be best if the bidi effects of <wbr> were specified explicitly, up
front, in the section on the wbr element. For example, it could state that
<wbr> must have the same effect on the bidi ordering as U+200B, the ZERO WIDTH
SPACE, i.e. no effect at all.

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Received on Thursday, 16 February 2012 16:17:13 UTC

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