White Space in Text Files

From: Edward Cherlin (cherlin@cauce.org)
Date: Sun May 25 1997 - 19:22:27 EDT

We have had some discussion about whether an explicit line break or page
break should be a block separator or whitespace. I think both are wrong.

Both can appear in the middle of a hyphenated word. In that context, they
are clearly not block separators, and not normal whitespace, either. They
may have to be treated as optional whitespace. That means that during
reformatting in the absence of a hyphen, they are spaces, and in the
presence of a hyphen, they vanish from view, just as an optional hyphen
would vanish.

Since they don't behave that way in ASCII text editors, I have gotten in
the habit of leaving a space at the end of every line in line-oriented
text. Editors frequently throw away line ends when reformatting a paragraph.

Edward Cherlin       Help outlaw Spam     Everything should be made
Vice President     http://www.cauce.org      as simple as possible,
NewbieNet, Inc.  1000 members and counting      __but no simpler__.
http://www.newbie.net/    17 May 97   Attributed to Albert Einstein

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