Exploring Better Source Editing for Bidirectional XHTML and XML
Martin Dürst, Associate Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University , Japan

Intended Audience: Content Developers, Software Engineers, Site Coordinators, Web Designers, Web Authors

Session Level: Intermediate

(X)HTML and XML own a significant amount of their popularity and rapid adoption to the fact that they can be viewed and edited easily in source form with a plain-text editor. However, while this is true for all the scripts and languages written left-to-right, for scripts and languages written right-to-left, such as Arabic and Hebrew, there are very serious obstacles for source editing. The root of the problem is that syntax-significant characters, such as angle brackets and quotes are weak or neutral, which may lead to very confusing display situations.

This paper looks at ways to more easily edit the source of bidirectional XHTML and XML documents by exploring various simulated changes to the Unicode bidirectional algorithm. Examples include the change of syntax-significant characters to strong LTR (or RTL) type, and the embedding of overall elements and/or element content. These simulated changes are explored with respect to several types of documents, in particular documents with LTR or RTL element and attribute names and with different kinds of element and attribute content.

By the time of the conference, we expect the results to be accessible for testing by the public via a Web interface.