4.6.23 The bdi element

Flow content.
Phrasing content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where phrasing content is expected.
Content model:
Phrasing content.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
Also, the dir global attribute has special semantics on this element.
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The bdi element represents a span of text that is to be isolated from its surroundings for the purposes of bidirectional text formatting. [BIDI]

The dir global attribute defaults to auto on this element (it never inherits from the parent element like with other elements).

For the purposes of applying the bidirectional algorithm to the contents of a bdi element, user agents must treat the element as a paragraph-level container.

For the purposes of applying the bidirectional algorithm to the paragraph-level container that a bdi element finds itself within, the bdi element must be treated like a U+FFFC OBJECT REPLACEMENT CHARACTER (in the same manner that an image or other inline object is handled).

The requirements on handling the bdi element for the bidirectional algorithm may be implemented indirectly through the style layer. For example, an HTML+CSS user agent could implement these requirements by implementing the CSS 'unicode-bidi' property. [CSS]

This element is especially useful when embedding user-generated content with an unknown directionality.

In this example, usernames are shown along with the number of posts that the user has submitted. If the bdi element were not used, the username of the Arabic user would end up confusing the text (the bidirectional algorithm would put the colon and the number "3" next to the word "User" rather than next to the word "posts").

 <li>User <bdi>jcranmer</bdi>: 12 posts.
 <li>User <bdi>hober</bdi>: 5 posts.
 <li>User <bdi>إيان</bdi>: 3 posts.