HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
3.10. The <bdo> Tag
As we mentioned earlier, the authors of the HTML 4 standard made a
concerted effort to include standard ways that web agents (browsers) are
supposed to treat and display the many different human languages and
dialects. Accordingly, the HTML 4 standard and its progeny, XHTML, con-
tain the universal dir and lang attributes that let you explicitly advise
the browser that the whole document or specific tagged segments within
it are in a particular language. These language-related attributes, then,
may affect some display characteristics; for example, the dir attribute
tells the browser to write the words across the display from either left to
right ( dir=ltr ), as for most Western languages, or right to left ( dir=rtl ),
as for many Asian languages.[ The dir attribute, ] [ The lang attrib-
ute, ]
The various Unicode and ISO standards for language encoding and dis-
play may conflict with your best intentions. In particular, the contents of
some other documents, such as a Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension
(MIME)-encoded file, may already be properly formatted, and your doc-
ument may misadvise the browser to undo that encoding. Hence, the
HTML 4 and XHTML standards have the <bdo> tag. With it, you override
any current and inherited dir specifications. And with the tag's required
dir attribute, you definitively specify the direction in which the tag's con-
tents should be displayed.
For example, Figure 3-5 shows how Internet Explorer handles the follow-
ing HTML fragment containing a <bdo> redirection:
<bdo dir=rtl>This would be readable if in Chinese, perhaps.</bdo>
Back to the Western way of reading and writing.
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