This is about some kind of brand new operator: it groups all words an blocks and punctuation signs which are not separated by space.
A great feature of Novelang is to apply standard typographic rules, especially when there is punctuation. The problem is, sometimes you can’t apply those rules in a blunt manner.
Consider these cases: on the left, what’s in the source document, and on the right default rendering.
|Source document||Default rendering||Hack|
| ||imprimé (e) s|| |
| ||F. B. I. (superfluous spaces)|| |
| ||computer ing||No hack available|
Default space insertion makes it all wrong. I tried to fix it by detecting proximity (lack of spaces) between casual words and blocks inside grave accents. But, if adding other cases like full stops, blocks inside solidus pairs and blocks inside parenthesis, we end up with many complex tranformations which just break existing whitespace addition for the common case.
The solution is something more generic. I’m thinking about a special character which groups everything that follows until there is a space, a line break or the end of the document. This character would be the tilde
~ because it looks like a kind of elastic ligature.
So, with source document like this:
We get an AST (Abstract Syntax Tree) like this:
+ block-after-tilde + word "computer" + block-inside-pair-of-solidus "ing"
But we still miss the feature of adding zero-width spaces when needed. How to express this? Since zero-width spaces only make sense inside a group with no space, we can reuse the tile character safely.
+ block-after-tilde + subblock + word "A" + punctuation-sign full-stop + word "L" + punctuation-sign full-stop + word "L" + punctuation-sign full-stop + subblock + word "O" + punctuation-sign full-stop + word "F" + punctuation-sign full-stop + subblock + apostrophe-wordmate + word "E" + punctuation-sign full-stop + word "M"
And this is enough for the stylesheet to find where to insert zero-width spaces.