[Bidi] Automatic text direction

Omer Zak w1 at zak.co.il
Mon Feb 28 02:15:54 PST 2005

I suggest that a standard be set for an "automatic text direction style
sheet" rather than for "automatic text direction".  This is because
people may have different expectations from an automatic text direction
algorithm implementation, according to the language with which they work
most of the time at the moment.

The style sheet (or rather configuration file) will, by default, be in a
standard location (say, /etc/bidi/autobidi, overridable by

The style sheet will specify, for each file type (identified by filename
extension, MIME type, or file contents, according to standard Unix
mechanisms).  For each relevant file type, some rules for setting
automatic text direction will be defined.

The case of *.xml files will be handled specifically - the automatic
text direction rules will be associated with the scheme, which is
associated with the *.xml file.

Another special case is the text displayed in GUI controls of various
types in various applications.  For this, we need a standard to identify
application instance, application and control within application, to
which the rules are applicable.

About the format of the rules themselves:
I suggest that some predicates be defined, according to the rules
already proposed and implemented for automatic text direction.
The predicates will be combined by means of Scheme code.
                                                  --- Omer

On Mon, 2005-02-28 at 11:54 +0200, Ely Levy wrote:
> Hey,
> I think we should create a standard for automatic text direction.
> There are few issues on how to detect the text direction (RTL or LTR)
> for example numbers should not be the setter of direction, the ability
> to manual override, split text ( for example gaim nick in english line is
> in hebrew or arabic what should be the text direction?should it be splited
> nick from one side text from the other? should it ignore the nick and
> detect it by the text?)
> What about html text?how do we ignore tags as direction setters?
> the big question, can a good autodetect actually be done? or should we
> give up on it and do maunal setting only?

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