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How to handle mixed LtR and RtL scripts in tabulated lists

From: Joost Kremers
Subject: How to handle mixed LtR and RtL scripts in tabulated lists
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2020 13:45:50 +0200
User-agent: mu4e 1.5.5; emacs 27.1.50


I'm wondering if there is a good way to create tabulated lists that have both left-to-right and right-to-left scripts. I'm running into the problem that the rtl entries have the columns in the "wrong" order.

I'm putting "wrong" in quotes here, because for the actual rtl entry, the columns would be in the right order. It's just that mixing such entries with ltr entries yields bad results.

Details of the actual problem can be found in this Github issue:

Basically, I'm creating a tabulated list of BibTeX entries, where each entry should have the columns "Key", "Author", "Year", "Title", in that order. However, entries that contain (in the example issue linked to) Hebrew text (specifically author name and title), the order of the columns ends up as (from left to right): "Key", "Title", "Year", "Author", the last three columns being in the "wrong" order compared to the ltr entries.

Currently, I'm using the built-in function `truncate-string-to-width` to create the rows of the tabulated list. (At the time I decided against using `tabulated-list-mode`, because I had some requirements that `tabulated-list-mode` didn't seem to handle. I don't remember the details...)

Is there a better way to this sort of thing? Should I be handling this differently?

TIA for any and all suggestions.

Joost Kremers
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