|10-28-2010, 08:58 PM||#76|
Join Date: Apr 2009
Device: Kindle PW, iPad Air 2, Fire HD6
Hyphenation can be done in raw text (soft or conditional hyphens) but ideally it is up to the text layout engine to do hyphenation - just in practical terms, soft hyphens are difficult to error check and should only be inserted when automatic hyphenation messes up. (Most browsers ignore soft hyphens; Kindle actually displays a little square so you have to strip these out before creating a MOBI format ebook.)
'Correct' automatic hyphenation requires a language-specific hyphenation dictionary (hyphenation rules being irregular), but some heuristics can get applied even then (because dictionaries are never complete). For example, 'confusticating' is not in the dictionary, but with English heuristics you could safely hyphenate it as 'con-fusti-cat-ing'.
While most e-readers don't seem to support hyphenation of any kind (kindle won't even break a hard-hyphenated word), I've discovered that Kindle for iOS and Mac do (Kindle for Windows doesn't). It looks like hyphenation is a service the core frameworks provides, at least on OS X (the iOS docs are not as explicit on this). If that's the case, it is interesting that Apple didn't choose to support hyphenation in iBooks. When there is hyphenation, I wonder how apps determine what language to specify - not sure all ebooks necessarily specify this in metadata (even if they should), and of course, there could be more than one language being in use in a given book so you would need to have lang tags to delineate these.
I'm kind of neutral on the justification issue, except I think users should have the power to select whatever looks good to them. Hyphenation should be a part of the mix, and again I think it should be largely a matter of personal preference. E-book creators have no idea what the characteristics of the reading system will be (screen size/line length/line spacing/typeface) and hence they are in no position to dictate these terms.
Last edited by tomsem; 10-28-2010 at 09:02 PM.
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