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Re: Tables and CSS

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 22:05:12 -0500 (EST)
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
cc: Vadim Plessky <lucy-ples@mtu-net.ru>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112262200530.2498-100000@tux.w3.org>
Tables are not just arbitrary tags. Table is the only mechanism in HTML for
representing two dimensional information, such as an array in a programming
language, or a timetable for a train line.

Visually, the obvious thing to do with that is lay it out in two dimensions,
so CSS provides a mechanism. Semantically, table is defined in the
specification along with the other patrts of tables, whereas div is just a
generic container. So it is better to use tables as described, because people
can read the specification and understand what a number of people agreed that
an element would mean, instead of trying to guess. (If the specification was
perfect, and all implementations were too, this would work really well.
Instead it works reasonably well).


On Tue, 25 Dec 2001, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

  At 11:27 AM +0000 12/25/01, Vadim Plessky wrote:
  >|   Lemme say that again since it rarely gets said:
  >|         ACCESS THAN DOES CSS.
  >BTW: I don't understand why you try to treat Tables separatly from CSS.
  >yoy can define
  >a { display: table }
  >b { display: table-row }
  >c { display: table-cell }

  How many assistive technologies will understand the above, and
  how many will understand <table> tags? :)

  But as you say, <table> tags are just arbitrary elements with
  CSS table styling pre-applied.  If using tables for layout is evil,
  then surely so is the above, which is CSS!  You can do just as much
  evil with CSS as with <table>, and -- see my other message for a
  discussion as to why generic tags like <div> are less useful than
  double-use tags like <table>.


Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Wednesday, 26 December 2001 22:05:15 UTC

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