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Status: Working Draft

Author: Richard Ishida

Bidirectional text support


Markup should be available to support the needs of bidirectional scripts.


Generally the Unicode bidirectional algorithm will cause text in scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew to appropriately order mixed script text. Sometimes, however, additional help is needed. For example, in the following phrase the 'W3C' and the comma should appear to the left side of the quotation. This cannot be achieved using the bidirectional algorithm alone.

The title says "פעילות הבינאום, W3C" in Hebrew.

The desired effect can be achieved using Unicode control characters, but this is not recommended (see the W3C Note and Unicode Technical Report Unicode in XML & Other Markup Languages). Markup is needed to establish the default directionality of a document, and to change that where appropriate by creating nested embedding levels.

Markup is also required to disable the effects of the bidirectional algorithm for a specified range of text.


See the following GEO documents for background:

Authoring Techniques for XHTML & HTML Internationalization: Handling Bidirectional Text 1.0 (early draft)

What you need to know about the bidi algorithm and inline markup

It may be sensible, when considering implementation approaches, to follow the lead of the XHTML 2.0 specification