I recently discovered two HTML special characters that I hadn’t known about before. The non breaking space and the soft hyphen.
The non breaking space
The non breaking space is just what it is: it adds an invisible space between two words keeping them from breaking to a new line. This special character is useful when you have a paragraph and the last line has a single word left all by itself.
In print, they call this an orphan or a widow. The non breaking space can link the last word or words together so that the last word doesn’t have to be alone by itself—isn’t that special. The non breaking space character is written this way:
The soft hyphen
The soft hyphen is a special character that can be added between letters in words to notify the browser where to break the word and show a hyphen.
Now, I already knew about this feature in CSS, but that feature is still not supported in Chrome as of this writing yet. So while Firefox and IE would automatically add hyphens, Chrome would be left out. I wanted a way to support all browsers, even the old ones and manually adding the soft hyphen does just that. The soft hyphen character is written this way:
Manually adding soft hyphens to each word would be a pain. Thankfully someone came up with software that does it for you. Now I cut and paste my content into this form and it outputs the soft hyphens into each word for me. After that, I have to replace the content in my editor. It’s a few steps, but its worth it to get better typography especially for mobile display.