After trying out different font families, I kept getting the same result as I mentioned in my last entry. Putting two spaces after the period (.) at the end of a sentence did not make a difference. After some research, I realized that this is a function of HTML, my font settings and my justification settings.The entry editing screen is a text editor. When the text is published in HTML, extra spaces are not counted. There is an HTML tag that will insert extra “non-breaking” spaces, and there are ways of automating that in external text editors, perhaps also by MT plugins. Many authorities favour using a proportionally spaced font and letting HTML sort it out. There are some reasons not to use two spaces, because in some applications, the extra whitespace can cause problems. It doesn’t seem to matter in an HTML page display in a browser window.
Many claim that the practice of putting two spaces at the end of a sentence started with typing teachers, not grammarians or printers. It was useful to add the extra space in typing with a typewrite, in a monospaced face, and that was considered as good practice. It may still be useful in processing text for output in a monospaced font-face. Adding the extra space in a text processor for HTML output requires special characters. Typing the spaces in the text processor has no impact.

1 thought on “Whitespace”

  1. I think the general tendency of markup languages to ignore extra spaces is a STRENGTH! The same is true of TeX and LaTeX. The logic behind this behaviour is that you’re not supposed to be wasting time figuring out how things look… you’re supposed to be wasting time writing! Let the damn style sheets worry about the appearance of the text. The same is true for extra lines, line-breaks, etc… they’re ignored. I like this feature of markup. I have a Manuscript stylesheet for LaTeX that makes the output acceptably ugly to conform to manuscript prerparation guidelines (double line spacing, Courier font, two spaces after sentences).

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