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[css3-text] Hyphenation properties for hyphenation zone and minimal word length

From: Christian Stockwell <cstock@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 04:40:39 +0000
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <2B4FAE26EDC5A14CAD4376398DC6DFBE64939D2C@TK5EX14MBXC124.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
I've reviewed the hyphenation properties and have a couple of questions. Looking through these properties it seems like there may be a few author scenarios that are not quite fully met. 

For example, an author may want to balance hyphenation against the whitespace introduced into the line. It seems that that need is typically met through the concept of a hyphenation zone or a minimal word length for hyphenation. These knobs are supported in common desktop publishing tools (Word, InDesign, CorelDraw, and others).

For example, consider the following line of text (where the forward slash indicates where the line must break):

"This CSS3 module defines properties for text manipulation and spec/ifies their"

Depending on the line length authors may prefer to have some whitespace at the right end of their line (or distributed throughout the line if the text is justified) rather than break "specifies". In some cases they can approximate that functionality through the hyphenate-limit-before and hyphenate-limit-after properties, but at the cost of prohibiting some otherwise desirable hyphenation opportunities.

Is the lack of properties controlling the concept of a hyphenation zone or minimal word length for hyphenation intentional? If so, what is the recommended approach to allow authors to balance hyphenation against whitespace? 

Christoph Päper and Simon Fraser previously touched upon the hyphenation zone in http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2010Aug/0073.html, but I haven't seen it discussed further.

- Chris Stockwell
Received on Friday, 18 February 2011 14:50:26 UTC

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