W3CW3C Internationalization (I18n) Activity: Making the World Wide Web truly world wide!

Gap analysis checklist
Dutch (Latin script) for HTML/CSS (Draft)

The W3C needs to make sure that the text layout and typographic needs of scripts and languages around the world are built in to technologies such as HTML, CSS, SVG, etc. so that Web pages and eBooks can look and behave as people expect around the world.

This page is a checklist of items to consider when investigating the level of support that is provided for a given script or language. If you want to raise an issue or comment against this page, use the github issues list.

Each section starts with a prompt in italicised text, intended to help you think of things that might be addressed in that section. When summarising the situation, try to indicate which languages you are covering with your text. Use separate subheadings where there are divergent issues related to specific languages.

For each section element with a topic class, add one of the following classes to that section tag. Then add any useful comments in the following section element with the details class.

This gap-analysis was done by: Bert Bos.

Characters & phrases

Encoding considerations

Are there any character repertoire issues preventing use of this script on the Web? Do variation selectors need attention?

Font styles

Do the standard fallback fonts used in browsers match expectations? Are special font features needed for this script that are not available? Do italic fonts lean in the right direction? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Glyph control

Does this script require additional work to support altering the position or shape of glyphs, for example adjusting the distance between the base text and diacritics, or changing the glyphs used in a systematic way? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Cursive text

If this script is cursive (eg. Arabic, N'Ko, Syriac, etc), are there problems or needed features related to the handling of cursive text? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Text boundaries and selection

When you double- or triple-click on the text, is the expected range of characters highlighted? When you move through the text with the cursor, or backspace, etc. do you see the expected behaviour? Are there issues when applying punctuation than could be fixed by the application? See available information or check for currently needed data.

You might expect double click to select a word including any apostrophes ('s, 't, dia's). Some software does, some doesn't. Ditto for words with dashes (ex-voetballer, vice-voorzitter), but no software on or off the Web seems to do so.


Are there any issues when dealing with quotations marks, especially when nested? Should block quotes be indented or handled specially? See available information or check for currently needed data.

In HTML and CSS the styling applied to nested multilingual quotations when using the q element chooses quotation marks based on the language of the text inside the quotation, rather than outside.

Numbers and digits

If the script has its own set of number digits, are there any issues in how they are used? Does the script or language use special format patterns that are problematic? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Transforming characters

Does your script need special text transforms that are not supported? Does your script convert letters to uppercase, capitalised and lowercase alternatives according to your typographic needs? Do you need to to convert between half-width and full-width presentation forms? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Capitalisation doesn't convert ij at the start of a word to IJ in most browsers, even if the text is labelled as Dutch. See test results at https://www.w3.org/International/tests/repo/results/text-transform#dutch_tailoring

See also the section on initial letter styling.

Inter-character spacing

Many scripts create emphasis or other effects by spacing out the letters or syllables in a word. We know there are questions here about how this should work in Indic and SE Asian scripts, and in Arabic-based scripts. Are there requirements for other scripts that we should add? (For justification related spacing, see below.) See available information or check for currently needed data.

Current implementations put the letter spacing after a letter even when it is at the end of a line, which makes the line look misaligned in justified or right-justified text.

Ruby annotation

The ruby spec currently specifies an initial subset of requirements for fine-tuning the typography of phonetic and semantic annotations of East Asian text, including furigana, pinyin and zhuyin fuhao systems. Is is adequate for what it sets out to do? What other controls will be needed in the future? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Text decoration

Some aspects related to the drawing of lines alongside or through text involve local typographic considerations. Do underlines need to be broken in special ways for this script? Do you need support for additional line shapes or widths? Does the distance or position of the lines relative to the text need to vary in ways that are not achievable? Are lines correctly drawn relative to vertical text? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Emphasis & highlights

Bold and italic are not always appropriate for expressing emphasis, and some scripts have their own unique ways of doing it, that are not in the Western tradition at all. Does this script require support for emphasising or highlighting text that cannot be achieved currently? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Inline notes, etc.

Does your script have special ways of representing inline notes (such as wakiten or kumimoji in Japanese) or other inline features that need to be supported? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Bidirectional text

If this script runs right-to-left, are there any issues when handling that? Is bidirectional text adequately supported? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Lines & paragraphs

Line breaking

Does the browser capture the rules about the way text in your script wraps when it hits the end of a line? What characters should not appear at the end or start of a line, and what should be done to prevent that? Does line-breaking wrap whole 'words' at a time, or characters, or something else (such as syllables in Tibetan)? See available information or check for currently needed data.

But see hyphenation below.


Is hyphenation used for your script, or something else? If hyphenation is used, does it work as expected? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Few browsers so far support hyphenation. When they do, they break correctly in most cases (better on Debian Linux than on Mac OS X, it seems), but they do not use the break opportunities where breaking would cause letters to change (cafeetje → café-tje, autootje → auto-tje) or they do it wrong (skiërs → ski-ers, not ski-ërs).

Justification & line-end alignment

When text in a paragraph needs to have flush lines down both sides, does it follow the rules for your script? Does the script need assistance to conform to a grid pattern? Does your script allow punctuation to hang outside the text box at the start or end of a line? Where adjustments are need to make a line flush, how is that done? Do you shrink/stretch space between words and/or letters? Are word baselines stretched, as in Arabic? See available information or check for currently needed data.

The (rarely used) hanging punctuation is not supported. Some newspapers allow letter spacing to help with justification, which is not supported either.

Counters, lists, etc

The CSS Counter Styles specification describes a limited set of simple and complex styles for counters to be used in list numbering, chapter heading numbering, etc. Are the details correct? We have another document that provides over 120 templates for user-defined counter styles in over 30 scripts. Are there more? Are there other aspects related to counters and lists that need to be addressed? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Initial letter styling

Does the browser or ereader correctly handle special styling of the initial letter of a line or paragraph, such as for drop caps or similar? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Despite the CSS specification specifically mentioning that the IJ combination should be treated as a single letter, browser don't seem to support this.

Baselines & inline alignment

Does the browser support requirements for baseline alignment between mixed scripts and in general? See available information or check for currently needed data.

[Not sure what to answer. Baseline alignment within Dutch works fine. But I don't know if it works between Dutch and non-latin scripts.]

White space and wrapping in source code

Do the rules for transforming white space in the source text for display meet the requirements of your script? This is particularly relevant for Far Eastern and South East Asian scripts, that don't use spaces between words.

Other paragraph features

In your script, is the first line of text typically indented at the start of a paragraph? Are there other features of paragraph design that are peculiar to your script? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Layout & pages

Bidirectional layout

When content can flow vertically and to the left or right, how do you specify the location of objects, text, etc. relative to the flow? For example, keywords 'left' and 'right' are likely to need to be reversed for pages written in English and page written in Arabic. See available information or check for currently needed data.

Vertical text

Are the script requirements for vertically oriented text met? What about if you mix vertical text with scripts that are normally only horizontal? Do you need a switch to use different characters in vertical vs. horizontal text? Does the browser support short runs of horizontal text in vertical lines (tate-chu-yoko in Japanese) as expected? Is the orientation of characters and the directional ordering of characters supported as needed? See available information.

Vertical text may occur for special effects (the spine of a book, table column headings). Typographically, it is simply horizontal text that is rotated. The ‘writing-modes: sideways-lr/rl’ CSS feature should solve that, but isn't supported yet.

Notes, footnotes, etc

Does your script have special requirements for notes, footnotes, endnotes or other necessary annotations of this kind in the way needed for your culture? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Some software supports the (experimental) features of CSS for footnotes, but none of the browsers do. Those features would still need to be enhanced for some advanced applications, in particular to support multiple footnote streams, such as in some critical editions.

Page numbering, running headers, etc

Are there special conventions for page numbering, or the way that running headers and the like are handled? See available information or check for currently needed data.

Although there exist software that supports page numbers and running headers, none of the browsers do. Complex running headers (containing math, tables or other complex content) are not supported anywhere.

More page layout and pagination

Some cultures define page areas and page progression direction very differently from those in the West (eg. kihon hanmen in Japanese). Is this an issue for you? Are widows and orphans relevant? In what order do pages progress, RTL or LTR? See available information or check for currently needed data.


Culture-specific features

Sometimes a script or language does things that are not common outside of it sphere of influence. This is a loose bag of additional items that weren't previously mentioned.

This section may also be relevant for observations related to locale formats (such as number, date, currency, format support).

The ‘ij’ is for some purposes a single letter, the 25th letter of the alphabet. The ‘y’, called ‘Griekse ij’ (Greek y), is not in the alphabet that children learn, although there are many (imported) words and names that use it. In handwriting and in some children's books, the ‘ij’ is a single glyph. (Never written as ÿ, but looking like a ü with the tail of a j or a sans-serif g. Children quickly learn that the ij is written as i+j in books and on the computer, but most people continue to write a single glyph when they write by hand. Dictionaries and alphabetical indexes usually sort ij with i, but some put ij after x. But when capitalizing a word that begins wih ij, both letters are always capitalized: ijsIJs (meaning ‘ice’).

The special hyphenation rules are explained above.

Some other characteristics of Dutch (none of which pose problems on the Web):

  • There are official rules for formatting postal codes in addresses (‘1000 AA AMSTERDAM’).
  • There is a traditional way to layout (business) letters.
  • The rules for quotation marks and their nesting are similar to British English. (But punctuation and quotation marks may swap place compared to American English.)
  • Text is typically slightly longer than equivalent English text and words are slightly longer on average, too.
  • Pronunciation is usually easy to guess from the spelling. (The other way round is not so easy, because many combinations sound the same: au = ou, dt = t, ei = ij, heetten = heten, etc.).
  • Certain words (mostly names and words derived from names) are capitalized.
  • Numbers use a dot between thousands and a comma before the decimals. The ‘0’ before the comma cannot be omitted (‘0,5’ but not ‘,5’).
  • Negative numbers start with a minus or dash.
  • The currency symbol precedes the amount (€10).
  • Ordinal numbers consist of digits followed by either an ‘e’ or one of ‘de’/‘ste’, in the same size and style as the digits: 1e, 2e, 100e or: 1ste, 2de, 100ste.
  • There is no space before punctuation (‘dan,’, ‘zei:’, ‘goed!’).
  • There is a simple space after the full stop at the end of a sentence.
  • The page numbered 1 in a book is a right hand page.
  • When text on the spine of a book is rotated, it is always in such a way that the book can lie with the front cover on top (i.e., like in English but different from French).
  • Some diacritics are used: diaeresis to indicate otherwise ambiguous syllable breaks (‘geërft’, two syllables vs ‘geeft’, one syllable), acute and grave accents for emphasis or French loan words (‘hé!’ ‘één’, ‘café‘), cedilla for loan words (Curaçao, reçu).

What else?

There are many other CSS modules which may need review for script-specific requirements, not to mention the SVG, HTML, Speech, MathML and other specifications.

What else is likely to cause problems for worldwide deployment of the Web, and what requirements need to be addressed to make the Web function well locally?

If you have comments about this page, send them to ishida@w3.org.

Content last changed 2017-09-13 13:33 GMT