Re: [css-text][css-conditional] language specific support for hyphenation and justification

> On 17 Jun 2015, at 18:31, Asmus Freytag <> wrote:
> As others have pointed out, the lack of hyphenation facilities in important UAs is a larger issue than allowing authors to fine-tune their choice of justification based on hyphenation support.

I agree with you that the lack of support for hyphenation in important UAs is an issue, and arguably a larger issue than the one I brought up.

That said, the kind of feature I am proposing would be equally useful for your use case. Assuming you want narrow columns only if hyphenation is supported not only in general, but specifically for the language you are using, you could do:

article { max-width: 35em; }
article:supports-hyphenation {
  columns: 10em;

However, the complete lack of support for hyphenation in some UAs is not something that can be addressed by the CSS working group. We have specified how hyphenation should work in the css-text specification. Whether browser vendors support this or not is a matter of their own prioritization. Asking for it here is unlikely to make much of a difference, since the css working group has no authority on browser vendors. We can merely describe how various features should work, not force anyone to implement the specifications we write.

If a use case cannot be addressed using css as it is described in the specifications, the CSSWG will definitely consider extending css. However, if something is specified already, we generally do not add additional features to the specification to work around the fact that something is not implemented.

> While you may have a choice in whether to justify or leave ragged a particular text box without affecting your overall design, it's pretty inconvenient having to forego narrow columns just because some languages can't be made to fit without hyphenation.
> And it's much more challenging to work around that limitation on the fly.

Absolutely, hyphenation is useful. Which is why the csswg has specified the 'hyphens' property. It has been in the css-text specification since 2011 (, and was before that in the gcpm specification since 2007 (

Whether UA vendors implement it or not, and when, is their own decision.

 - Florian

Received on Thursday, 18 June 2015 09:00:39 UTC