Archive: May 5th, 2009

Tea Round - Democra-tea at work

It looks Wheel of Tea is going to face some stiff competition from this iPhone app.

Hyphen Nation

Lionel Schriver’s piece in the Standpoint called Dashed Bad Form is a witty affair, comparing and contrasting the and the . Alas, the self-describing nature of the article is completely lost in the online version—though presumably not in the print edition—having suffered the all-too-common fate of emdashculation; every instance of an em dash in the article has been converted into a plain ol’ hyphen. Oh, the irony! …proper irony too—not that confused Alanis Morissette kind.

It’s probably a CMS issue. But, hey, it’s as good an opportunity as any to point to the classic article on A List Apart, The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters). It’s almost eight(!) years old now and I’d still consider it required reading.

The article makes a brief mention of the soft hyphen (­ or ­) but back then, browser support was pretty shoddy. Browser support was still pretty shoddy when Richard wrote Hyphens a soft problem three years later.

But now the situation isn’t too shabby. Richard’s test case is faring a lot better now in Safari, Firefox and Opera. Internet Explorer (surprisingly) has been doing it right since version 6.

Admittedly, using a soft hyphen is a royal pain in the ass compared to having a browser just figure it out automatically but until hyphenation is sorted out in CSS3—which might be quite some time—we’re stuck with inserting the entity by hand.