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Dashes and hyphens on web site
#40496 05/16/16 05:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
deniro Offline OP
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I'm doing work for a web site where the administrators want me to use hyphens instead of em dashes or en dashes. On the site, in Firefox, using Verdana, I seem to be unable to type hyphens. I'm using a Logitech Windows keyboard with my imac. When I hit the hypen key on my keyboard, it looks like a dash on the web page, but a hyphen in Tex Edit Plus.

The instructions are this:
Non-ASCII punctuation symbols may display incorrectly in some browsers or plugins and should be replaced by their ASCII equivalents if possible. E.g.: … (ellipsis) should be replaced with three full stops, – and — with a simple hyphen, ` and ´ with ', “ and ” with ".

If I copy something from Wikipedia into Tex Edit Plus, the dashes remain. I tried search and replace but for some reason couldn't turn all the dashes into hyphens. I tried doing it manually and they looked fine. But then when I posted the text onto the web page, they look like dashes again.

Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
deniro #40504 05/16/16 10:41 PM
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The Web server software (is it WordPress?) may be converting the dashes.

It is true that "Non-ASCII punctuation symbols may display incorrectly in some browsers or plugins and should be replaced by their ASCII equivalents if possible"...in 1998.

Here in the future, in 2016, all Web browsers are fully capable of displaying non-ASCII characters, and (gasp) can even display characters that aren't in the American English alphabet, like ë or ✤ or 😈 or ♘ or 外字.

Does the client who wants you to remain limited to ASCII also request regular updates by telegraph? Or have they moved into using a FAX machine?


Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
tacit #40518 05/17/16 03:30 PM
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deniro Offline OP
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It's a wikia. The admininstrators I communicate with are in other countries, two in Germany, one in Canada.

One of them replied yesterday to my inquiry: "The issue about avoiding High ASCII punctuation online is as old as the internet." Then he gave me a link to "dash" in Wikipedia. I told him I already knew what dash was, an em dash and an en dash.

Keep in mind these guys are real douchebags. Maybe you can give me a witty comeback.

The site has contributors from all over the world typing in different languages, so I assume there are all kinds of typographical details that need consideration.

When I type on this site, I can almost see the difference between the dash and the hyphen, but for practical use it looks the same.

I don't know what to think of Tex-edit Plus's search and replace making this difficult. I'm still analyzing that. Usually it's an excellent search tool, far far better than Pages', and includes grep searches and many other options. It made me realise what a handicap Pages' search function is.

A related point: I use Tex-edit Plus a lot for cleaning up documents. One of the options says "Strip high ASCII characters (ASCII 128-255)" and gives me a check box. But I quit using that (box) a long time ago because it deleted my apostrophes. An odd function.


Last edited by deniro; 05/17/16 03:31 PM.
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
deniro #40519 05/17/16 03:39 PM
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deniro Offline OP
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Maybe if I used Georgia instead of Verdana, thus avoiding a monospaced font. I don't know why that would matter, but I'll try it for visual effect.

An administrator responded to me: "Can't be a font problem: n/m dash of any font is as wide as n/m of that font (hence the name), hyphen is narrower still."

Last edited by deniro; 05/17/16 03:40 PM.
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
deniro #40523 05/17/16 05:39 PM
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I don't know if this will work or not but on the theory the problem is a conflict with character encoding standards...
  1. Set TextEdit ➢ Preferences ➢ Open & Save ➢ Palin Text File Encoding ➢ Opening files: select Unicode (UTF 8)
  2. Set TextEdit ➢ Preferences ➢ Open & Save ➢ Palin Text File Encoding ➢ Saving files: select Unicode (UTF 8)
  3. Open the file and see if you are seeing hyphen, en dash, or em dash.
If it is a hyphen you should be goods to go, if not edit to change en dash and em dash to hyphens then save the file and use that.


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
joemikeb #40524 05/17/16 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I don't know if this will work or not but on the theory the problem is a conflict with character encoding standards...
  1. Set TextEdit ➢ Preferences ➢ Open & Save ➢ Palin Text File Encoding ➢ Opening files: select Unicode (UTF 8)
  2. Set TextEdit ➢ Preferences ➢ Open & Save ➢ Palin Text File Encoding ➢ Saving files: select Unicode (UTF 8)
  3. Open the file and see if you are seeing hyphen, en dash, or em dash.
If it is a hyphen you should be goods to go, if not edit to change en dash and em dash to hyphens then save the file and use that.

Methinks that would be: ➢ Plain Text File Encoding ➢
... the usual problem with brain faster than fingers.

Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
grelber #40525 05/17/16 05:53 PM
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I meant to add that as well.


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
joemikeb #40527 05/17/16 07:30 PM
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deniro Offline OP
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Not Text-edit. Tex-Edit Plus, the program by Tom Bender.

Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
deniro #40530 05/17/16 09:33 PM
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I was referring to TextEdit by Apple Computer.


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
deniro #40531 05/17/16 09:37 PM
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My guess would be the wiki software is doing the translation automatically.

A lot of Web CMS systems and front-end systems will automatically use typographers' quotes, en and em dashes, and so on. I think even the newest version of TinyMCE, an open source text editor used by lots of software, does that. Many major sites like Quora automatically do dash, quote, and ellipsis conversion.

If you have contributors using all sorts of other languages, that's proof you don't need to worry about dashes and ellipses. Regular ASCII includes only English characters without accents. If they're worried about en and em dashes, they should also be worried about accents, and any non-English symbol or alphabet is right out.


Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html
Re: Dashes and hyphens on web site
tacit #40535 05/17/16 11:48 PM
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deniro Offline OP
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What should Firefox's setting be for Text Encoding?


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