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Subject: Re: [office] proposal for 15.5.36 style:writing-mode, add 'auto'

On Thursday 14 June 2007 08:52:11 you wrote:
> On 13/06/07, Thomas Zander <zander@kde.org> wrote:
> > the actual text in the paragraph can be used, in combination with
> > unicode tables, to determine the text layout direction
> I'm no expert, but I don't think this is factual Thomas. Unicode
> doesn't talk about texts, simply code points, glyphs or characters.
> Inferring the wanted text mode from the character seems somewhat
> authoritarian to me.

In KOffice we use the FIRST typed character on a new paragraph for the 
whole paragraphs writing mode. Its been shown to be correct in almost all 
It surely is something that users have shown appreciation for.

Do note that you need the text-direction for a paragraph and that the user 
just right-aligning text by pressing that toolbar button is not 

> > I would like to suggest we add an 'auto' value to the above list of
> > options which would take the value from the text instead of
> > specifying this.
> How would you define the directionality of auto?

In practice I think you can call it 'undefined'.

I'll explain it in a different way;
All the paragraph properties coming from a style have a defined property. 
Think about the strike-through-color to the fontfamily properties. They 
are all predefined when you start a new paragraph. The text-direction is 
different. Before you start to type a paragraph it doesn't always need to 
have a direction.  Sometimes it does, other times the direction should be 
taken from the text of the paragraph itself. (first character, for 
So, in order to not force all app developers to create an exception to the 
rules we need an 'undefined' value. Or, as I called it 'auto'.

> Think of two authors, one in China, one in Israel.
> Then add me with a token 3 Hebrew characters in an otherwise English
> text.

Existing text will very very likely already have a text-direction as set 
by the application.  So for such paragraph it will be set to 'auto' and 
thus typing those characters will not change anything.  It will just make 
the text-rendering of that English paragraph with some Hebrew in there be 

The point at the end of the day, naturally, is how we want to make things 
easiest for the users of the ODF implementations.
And I have to say I didn't even find any way to alter the directionality 
of a paragraph in OOWriter, so don't try things on that app unless you 
already know how to do such things ;)

As an end user I can expect certain workflows.  If the text-direction is 
set on a page, then I think we can expect the new paragraph to get that 
text direction.  Even if the first character typed is different. This 
makes sense for 1 English sentence in a further Hebrew text.
On the other hand, there are cases where I want the application to be free 
to deduct the text direction from the text typed. And this usecase is 
currently impossible. We need an 'auto' directionality for that.

I hope this clears up why I think we need this new value.

> Direction may not be implemented.Doesn't mean to say it's wrong.

I'm not sure I follow this line.
Thomas Zander

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