Smart Quotes

Via Daring Fireball, Glenn Fleishman’s Atlantic article on curly quotes:

The trouble with being a former typesetter is that every day online is a new adventure in torture. Take the shape of quotation marks. These humble symbols are a dagger in my eye when a straight, or typewriter-style, pair appears in the midst of what is often otherwise typographic beauty. It’s a small, infuriating difference: “this” versus “this.”

I write my content in Markdown, render it to HTML, and post raw HTML into WordPress. It’s a couple extra steps, but I get to write in a proper text application, and the output is reliable and well-formed. During that process the quotes are “educated” to transfrom plain ASCII inch marks to proper double quotes.

Ironically, the quote above is the biggest problem I’ve encountered in a while: the plain quotes are automatically educated, so I have to update the HTML output and change it back. Then I discovered that WordPress automatically educates my quotes, so I couldn’t display straight quotes even though I wanted to. I would have to update WordPress to remove the wptexture filter. I started this post explaining how easy this was for me, but only proved the point that it is a pain purposely using both proper quotes and dumb straight quotes. Using one or the other is easy.