Intro to the Bidirectional Algorithm

English is written left to right. Hebrew is written right to left. We know that. Browsers (for the most part) know that too, just like they know that the default directionality of a web page is left-to-right (LTR), and that if there is a setting that explicitly defines the direction to right-to-left, the page should flip like a mirror. Browsers are smart like that. Mostly.

But even browsers have problems when deciding what to do when languages are mixed up, and that, my friends, is a recipe for really weird issues when typing and viewing bidirectional text. Continue reading “Intro to the Bidirectional Algorithm”

The history of Right-to-Left support online

Courtesy of Leif K-Brooks, Wikimedia Commons

Browsers are pretty smart. They know how to render complex media and weirdly innovative HTML5 and CSS3 (4, soon?) magical elements. They are also fairly fast, with their internal tricks that make them consider how to plan out and render the page for the user. Today, we can do right-to-left text online. Of course, as you can see from this entire website, we are still struggling with exactly how to render it, especially when dealing with mixed content directionality, but the fact that we can do it is, in itself, a huge step forward.

That’s not the way things always behaved. Continue reading “The history of Right-to-Left support online”