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Friday, December 29, 2006

Two spaces

Not being a native English speaker myself there are many parts of the culture I don't know about. Like the fact that at some time putting two spaces after sentences was usual. From what I gather however this isn't the case any more since people have failed to show the (supposed) advantage in accessibility. Here are some links:

Somebody supporting the idea

A blog post about it

The obligatory Wikipedia reference :)

The Chicago Manual of Style's opinion


  1. We had to do that when I did my university degree (in 1994) - now I find it really hard to not put in double spaces.

  2. Anonymous1:16 PM

    That was (and still is) a typists' convention. It's a bit beside the point on the web, since browsers pay little attention to white space. You could using space + non-breaking-space to simulate what typists do, but it's not clear that's worth the bother. Besides, a sprinkling of nbsps is fairly "unsemantic".

    Printers' conventions for spacing are also pretty much irrelevant on the web. Printers use hair spaces, em-spaces and en-spaces. But browser support for all these is problematic.

    All this has nothing to do with "semantics" - meaning - anyway, and is irrelevant to, for example, a blind person browsing the web. If we were pay more attention to whitespace than we generally do on the web, we'd really want to shift our conventions out of the HTML and into a CSS stylesheet - so that people who have no use for all this don't need to take extra mark up (since their user agent doesn't have to download the stylesheet).