Re: Fixed Width Spaces (was: Printing and Displaying DependentVowels)

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 13:40:00 EST

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    On 31/03/2004 08:49, Language Analysis Systems, Inc. Unicode list reader

    >>So perhaps the best thing to do in cases like Ernest's and mine, where
    >>fixed width non-breaking space is required, is to use FIGURE SPACE,
    >>which I understand is non-breaking. But then perhaps this is too wide
    >>some circumstances - in many fonts it is twice the regular width of
    >Going out on a limb here...
    >It sorta seems like the need to keep phrases like "Louis XIV" together
    >is a valid one the deserves a solution, but it also seems fairly
    >esoteric-- typesetters and people who give a lot of thought to the
    >presentation of their text might use this, but most people wouldn't.
    >This makes me wonder if it's a plain-text thing.
    >I'm not saying this is a problem that should be solved through markup,
    >but if you care enough about the presentation of the text to care about
    >this, you're probably also already using styled text to specify other
    >things you care about, such as the font you're using. And if you know
    >what font you're using, you can use THREE-PER-EM SPACE or FOUR-PER-EM
    >SPACE (or maybe SIX-PER-EM SPACE or FIGURE SPACE), because you know
    >which one is the right width in your font.
    >For that matter, if a typical space is usually either a third or an em
    >or a quarter of an em wide, my guess is you could probably use either
    >THREE-PER-EM SPACE or FOUR-PER-EM SPACE anyway, and even if this didn't
    >exactly match the width of a space in the particular font used to render
    >your text, it'd probably still look okay. But then again, I'm not a
    >Fading back into the background...
    >--Rich Gillam
    > Language Analysis Systems, Inc.
    Fair enough. To most people, a space is a space. To rather more, there
    is a second kind of space which they expect to be non-breaking and often
    also expect to be fixed width. (Those who had the latter expectation
    have had a nasty surprise today because with the release of 4.0.1 NBSP
    is suddenly no longer fixed width.) The problem is that when we get
    beyond that we get lost in a world of typography, and in uncertainty
    over which spaces are supposed to be breaking or non-breaking, fixed or
    variable width, and if fixed what width. It would be useful to have all
    of this clearly laid out somewhere, so that those of us who do care
    about what our text looks like, but are not professional typographers,
    know what we should use.

    Louis<THREE-PER-EM SPACE>XVI may have lost his head, but we don't want
    his number also to fall off on to the next line, or even to become too
    far separated from his name. We need to know what kind of space to use
    to resist the guillotine!

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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