Re: Fixed Width Spaces

From: Ernest Cline (
Date: Sat Apr 03 2004 - 21:30:54 EST

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    > [Original Message]
    > From: Philippe Verdy <>
    > > There is at least one instance where NBSP had best be treated
    > > as a fixed width space, when it is used as thousands separator as in
    > > 100 000. Unicode recognizes it for this use by assigning NBSP the
    > > Bidi Class of CS. I doubt if anyone is going to seriously argue that
    > > space between 100 and 000 should be expanded upon justification.
    > > Of course, that could be taken care of by adding NBSP to Boundary
    > > class MidNum in the Text Boundaries document (UAX#29) without
    > > affecting its nature when used elsewhere.
    > Isn't that the role of the FIGURE SPACE, or better, of the THIN SPACE ?

    FIGURE SPACE main function is a place holder so that the lining up
    of numeric data can be done easily is proportional plain text.

    PUNCTUATION SPACE can serve the same function for commas
    and decimals that aren't present in some of the figures but not in all,
    but it might also be appropriate for job of thousands separator in

    THIN SPACE also might be appropriate for the job of thousands

    However, as far as the Bidirectional Algorithm is concerned,
    NBSP is the one and only space that it recognizes as linking
    adjacent groups of digits into a single number. The Text Boundaries
    Algorithm recognizes no space as doing that. One can argue that
    changes need to be made to the handling of spaces in these two
    algorithms, but with Unicode as it is, the only space that has
    anything close to recognition a thousands separator is NBSP,
    and even then that recognition is incomplete.

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