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Re: Complex Table Examples

From: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007 23:06:04 +0200
Message-ID: <a9699fd20706051406m6f7111beq9ba7eb92d0579c3d@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>

2007/6/5, Laura Carlson:
> Comment by Joe Clark
> > Anyway, the definitive analysis of complex HTML tables is still Steve
> > Ferg's:
> > http://www.ferg.org/section508/accessible_tables_recommendations.html

Wow! That's REALLY worth reading!

...so is the "main paper" at

What I learnt:
 - scope= is even less useful than I thought (I didn't ever read the
11.4.3 section of HTML4, don't ask me why, I didn't ever know it

 - the algorithm in HTML5 for associating header cells and data cells
is far less powerful than the "basic" one from HTML4 (it starts from
headers and searches data cells to associate with, while the HTML4
algorithm takes the other way: from data cells to header cells, which
is generally what people need, I guess)

 - I wasn't misunderstanding the headers= attribute (though I learnt
some things about it from the "basic algorithm" of section 11.4.3).
Headers= is the only way to "work around" a limitation of the table
model: colgroups and rowgroups cannot be nested more than two levels:
colgroup and col, rowgroup and row [1]. The example in the
"recommandations" paper is a good example of something that cannot be
accomplished without the headers= attribute.

It seems that HTML4 was very good at defining the table model (thought
not at describing it in the spec), even if not widely implemented (to
be proved, though).

[1] http://www.ferg.org/section508/accessible_tables.html#table_of_contents_6.2.3

Thomas Broyer
Received on Tuesday, 5 June 2007 21:06:08 UTC

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