Re: proposal for new character 'soft/preferred line break'

From: Jukka K. Korpela <>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2014 09:25:35 +0200

2014-02-10 22:30, Philippe Verdy kirjoitti:

> No I make no confusion: <wbr> is a formatting HTML element, SHY (or
> &shy; in HTML syntax for the defined entity) is a character. Both play
> equivalent roles in HTML,

Not at all.

> except that &shy; has a defined behavior to
> insert an hyphen at end of broken lines, where <wbr> would adopt a
> language-dependant behavior (not all languages use hyphens at end of
> lines to mark words that have been split by breaking lines).

Quite the opposite. The effect of SOFT HYPHEN is expected to be
language-dependent (though it hardly is in web browsers):
Normally, it causes hyphenation, with a hyphen inserted when adequate.
This is quite different from a direct break opportunity, which is what
<wbr> means in browser practice, being standardized in HTML5:
There is nothing language-dependent about <wbr>, in theory or in
practice. It is never expected to result in the addition of a hyphen,
and it never does that.

When Netscape invented <wbr> long ago, they chose a cryptic name, which,
when expanded (to “word break”), has seriously misled many people into
thinking that it is for suggesting breaks inside human-language words.
Its primary use is for breaks inside strings that are *not* words.
(Exceptionally, it sometimes has use inside words: you might wish to
write e.g. tax-<wbr>free, but there the point is that a simple string
break is OK, since the “-” is part of the word and no hyphen needs to be
added when the word is divided.)


Unicode mailing list
Received on Tue Feb 11 2014 - 01:26:56 CST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Tue Feb 11 2014 - 01:26:57 CST