[Bidi] Automatic text direction

Nadim Shaikli shaikli at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 2 22:28:23 PST 2005

--- Ely Levy <elylevy at cs.huji.ac.il> wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Feb 2005, Nadim Shaikli wrote:
> > --- Ely Levy <elylevy at cs.huji.ac.il> wrote:
> > > 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?
> >
> > Are you also thinking of addressing the command-line in terminal
> > emulators that have Bidi support.  I'm talking about the case where
> > one wants to do,
> >
> >   grep "ARABIC-3 ARABIC-2 ARABIC-1" filename
> >
> > note here that bidi needs to kick-in for proper display (the numbers
> > above denote word entry count) as well as
> >
> >   diff FILENAME-1 FILENAME-2
> >
> > and in this case bidi was not supposed to have been engaged since order
> > does matter to convey proper context.
> >
> > NOTE: All caps are non-latin bidi-required characters.
> >
> > It would be ideal to find a mechanism that would not involve the use of
> > directional markers (ie. to add-in the proper smarts needed in bash for
> > it to denote proper context - when within quotes apply bidi else don't
> > among other things -- well maybe not bash per se, but a library call is
> > needed for automatic direction setting).
> >
> >  - Nadim
> The question is in what level you want to do it, you can handle it inside
> the app and let diff and grep decide if they want to change it or not, you
> can handle it in bash level or you can handle it in terminal emulation
> level (I think kconsole supports it already). There is also the question
> of who needs to change direction when the error message or output is bidi.

Can't we standardize on how this needs to be done ?  If kconsole
(and I haven't used it) already gives the user this ability - what
did they opt for and why (in terms of details) ?  In my mind this
functionality seems most appropriate in the shell level (bash) but
then again how do you disable an already "Bidi always ON" terminal
such as mlterm if some other application or layer is doing the smarts
for you.  In short, a document/specification needs to address all of
this so that there is consistency on how things happen instead of the
more familiar soup of abilities that is out there (most of which has
serious issues).

 - Nadim

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