SmartyPants and dashes
cuyfalls at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 28 12:06:46 EDT 2014
Please bear with me as I am just a user and, by no means, a developer.
However, I've noticed some inconsistent behavior among different
implementations of SmartyPants when it comes to en-dashes and em-dashes.
**1. Calibre 2.7*
*When I recently uploaded a Markdown source file to Calibre and selected
its "Smarten punctuation" feature, it converted a double-hyphen "--"
into an em-dash, and a triple hyphen "---" into an en-dash. This
behavior was the opposite that I have come to expect using both LaTeX
and ReText, my default Markdown editor.
I reported the matter as a Calibre bug, but received a response saying
that the Calibre behavior was based on the official SmartyPants source
code, which states as follows:
"The string, with each instance of "--" translated to an em-dash HTML
entity, and each "---" translated to an en-dash HTML entity. Two reasons
why: First, unlike the en- and em-dash syntax supported by
EducateDashesOldSchool(), it's compatible with existing entries written
before SmartyPants 1.1, back when "--" was only used for em-dashes.
Second, em-dashes are more common than en-dashes, and so it sort of
makes sense that the shortcut should be shorter to type. (Thanks to
Aaron Swartz for the idea.)*"
*Confused by this, I tested two other methods of using SmartyPants, and
received inconsistent results.
*2**. Python Markdown v2.5.1*
I use ReText as my Markdown editor. It uses the Smartypants extension
that is provided with Python Markdown v2.5.1. It translates "--" as an
endash and "---" as an emdash, the *opposite* as Calibre. Below is the
translation table found at
ASCII symbol Replacements HTML Entities Substitution Keys
|'| ' ' |‘| |’| |'left-single-quote'|,
|"| " " |“| |”| |'left-double-quote'|,
|<< >>| « » |«| |»| |'left-angle-quote'|,
|...| ... |…| |'ellipsis'|
|--| -- |–| |'ndash'|
|---| --- |—| |'mdash'|
At the bottom of the Python/SmartyPants extension page is the following:
"SmartyPants extension is based on the original SmartyPants
implementation by John Gruber. Please read it's documentation
<http://daringfireball.net/projects/smartypants/> for details."
Based on this, I went to Gruber's page and got yet more inconsistency.
*3. SmartyPants by John Gruber.*
At Gruber's SmartyPants page,
(http://daringfireball.net/projects/smartypants/) the following is found:
"SmartyPants can perform the following transformations:
* Straight quotes ( " and ' ) into "curly" quote HTML entities
* Backticks-style quotes (|``like this''|) into "curly" quote HTML
* *Dashes ("**|--|**" and "**|---|**") into en- and em-dash entities *
* **Three consecutive dots ("|...|") into an ellipsis entity"
Based on the order of the dashes listed, it would appear as if Gruber is
suggesting that "--" would turn into an en-dash, and "---" into an
em-dash (consistent with ReText, but not with Calibre). But, if I use
Gruber's online Dingus translator
(http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/dingus), I get yet a third
variation of the conversion. Gruber's online translator converts "--"
into an em-dash (as does Calibre) /but/ it turns "---" into an em-dash
plus a hyphen (no en-dash).
There appears to be either confusion or disagreement in the
Markdown/SmartyPants world as to how to create typographic dashes. Is
there any way that the developers can come together on this very small
part of the Markdown world?
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