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[css-text] feedback on hyphenation

From: Håkan Save Hansson <hakan.hansson@edison.se>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:17:20 +0000
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <896B66B790C04549AD3BF12412E175E39D2A944772@hst-mail01.sdbit.local> (sfid-20140212_141727_830873_C9E64B6E)

Please consider additional sub properties to "hyphens:auto" for more control over the hyphenation. As it is (tested in FF) the auto-hyphenation is too "strong", meaning that any word that can be hyphenated will be, regardless the suitability and the will of the page editor.


hyphens-[Don't hyphenate words shorter than]: 10
hyphens-[Minimum count of characters before hyphen]: 3
hyphens-[Minimum count of characters after hyphen]: 3
hyphens-[Minimum count of characters after hyphen on the last paragraph line]: 6

...and a bit more advanced..

hyphens-[Maximum count of subsequent lines with hyphens]: 2

...and so on (these were just from the top of my head).

Second suggestion:

There are some language specific special cases with hyphenation. In Swedish for instance, if you write the two words "matta" (carpet) and "tjuv" (thief) as one you write it as "mattjuv", with two t letters. This should hyphenate into "matt-tjuv", with three t letters. This is not a hyphenation rule, but rather a type rule: when you write two words as one, there may never be more than two of the same letters where then two words concatenate.

If you want to use a manual soft hyphen (&shy;) for such a word you're in trouble. My suggestion is that when you write "matt&shy;tjuv" in text and it is displayed without hyphenation, it respects this rule and suppresses one of the three letters t. I don't know if such a rule could have a negative effect on texts in other languages, but I don't know of any language allowing three subsequent letters. If needed maybe it could be controlled in CSS something like this:

hyphens-[Maximum count of same letter before and after hyphen]: 2

One could argue that this is not a CSS thing, rather up to the browser to handle (maybe with different behavior for different languages). Well, in my opinion it is certainly related to the rules how the soft hyphen (&shy;) should be handled and without a standard no browser vendor would probably even think of implementing this behavior. Furthermore it must be handled, and handled in the same way, by all (modern) browsers before one can start using it on webpages. You dont want any "matttjuv" with three letters t out there (can't he even spell?). One should be able to check the support at for instance caniuse.com. This speaks in favor of a CSS property like the one above.


-- Håkan

Håkan Hansson
hakan.hansson@edison.se <mailto:hakan.hansson@edison.se>


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Received on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 16:09:54 UTC

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