HTML Text Justification and Hyphenation
Thursday Jan 08, 2009 Filed in: Ming Hsu
One thing easy to do (but not easy to do well) in word processing software is to use hyphenation when justifying text. Up until now there have been really no way to do so on the web. I recently heard that both IE6, Safari, and recently Firefox 3, all began to support soft hyphenation. Basically you put the reference code—­—in the area where one might want to insert a hyphen. Now I don't understood why this should be something that is done on the language side (i.e., html) rather than browser side. I mean, you are not asked in either Word or Latex to put some random marker of where you might possibly hyphenate. Nevertheless, I don't ask for much and this is better than nothing, and the difference can be quite stark, especially when working with narrow blocks of text.
Here are some pictures to show the with and without hyphenation. Here is the before version of the block of text on the front page prior to hyphenation. The white spaces were a huge eyesore, and depending on the text size, browser, and monitor resolution, where these hideous white spaces showed up will differ. That is, one can never hard code those stupid hyphens in.
It would be a pain of course to enter these manually, but thanks to a post from the Rapidweaver Forum, I found this web tool that automatically hyphenates your text. Someone might write a plugin for Rapidweaver, but as I said earlier, this seems like it should be a job for the rendering engine rather than the language. Namely you get totally unreadable code like the following.
The results are quite stunning. Two well placed hyphens and the unspeakably ugly (slight exaggeration) white spaces is replaced with free flowing text. Still, it's enough of an effort that I won't be doing this except in text blocks that clearly have a spacing problem.The goal of our research group is to under­stand the
behav­ioral and neural basis of eco­nomic
decision-making. These are the inter­dis­ci­
pli­nary research areas of behav­ioral eco­nom­
ics and neu­roe­co­nom­ics. These
ques­tions allow us to bring a vari­ety of models and
meth­ods, includ­ing non-expected util­ity theory,
behav­ioral and psy­cho­log­i­cal
game theory, lab and field exper­i­ments, as well as
­i­cal, and phys­i­o­log­i­cal