ISSUE-38: New attribute: bidibreak

New attribute: bidibreak

Raised by:
Richard Ishida
Opened on:
This is a part of the proposals made by the "Additional Requirements for Bidi in HTML" W3C First Public Working Draft. For a full description of the use cases, please see Here is the proposal made there:

Support a new HTML element attribute, bidibreak=hard|soft. On a <br> element, the "soft" value means that the <br> is to be treated as a UBA bidi class WS (whitespace) character, as was required in HTML 4. The "hard" value means that the <br> is to be treated as UBA bidi class B, i.e. paragraph break. If neither is specified, the bidibreak attribute value is inherited from the parent. Thus, when specified on an element other than <br>, bidibreak serves to determine the behavior of descendant <br> elements. For the root element, the default is "hard" (which, of course, spreads to every <br> element in the document, unless an intervening element sets bidibreak otherwise).

Alternatively, if and only if all major browser makers reach unanimous consensus that the default value for the root element should be "soft" and commit to implementing it as such to the HTML WG prior to the new HTML specification publication, that too would be fine.

When the author wants to use <br> just to wrap a line without adding bidi separation, <br bidibreak="soft"> will do the trick.

Reasonable use cases for specifying bidibreak="soft" on non-<br> elements would include an element containing poetry, as well as the root element of a document that relies on the bidi behavior specified for <br> by HTML 4.

When <br> introduces a UBA paragraph break, the base direction of the new UBA paragraph will be determined by the computed direction of the nearest ancestor element whose bidi properties require its contents to be in a separate UBA paragraph (or sequence of paragraphs), e.g. a block element or an element directionally isolated by the ubi attribute (which is being proposed in a separate bug). Furthermore, for every element between there and the <br> that results in the creation of an embedding or override level, e.g. a <bdo> element or any element with a dir attribute or a value other than "normal" for the unicode-bidi CSS property, the corresponding embedding or override level is re-introduced at the start of the new UBA paragraph (to be closed at the end of the element or the UBA paragraph, whichever comes first).

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IMPORTANT: This issue was moved from our old review tracking system to the new tracker system. For previous mail relating to this issue, see:
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Related emails:
  1. Review of tracker issues for best practices (from on 2015-03-25)
  2. I18N-ISSUE-38: New attribute: bidibreak [HTML5-bidi] (from on 2011-06-20)

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Addison Phillips <>, Chair, Richard Ishida <>, Fuqiao Xue <>, Atsushi Shimono <>, Staff Contacts
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