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Re: Structure in Data-Tables

From: William R Williams <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 09:55:42 -0700
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF3251A133.B1BA6DCF-ON88256E90.0059ED7E-88256E90.005CFD7F@notes.fs.fed.us>

It seems, at least to me, there are 2 areas of concern here:

1. In mentioning "datatables," my assumption is that you are asking about
the presentation of data in a table format; i.e., to tabulate the data, or
"tabular data." A strict definition of this, which existed pre-World Wide
Web, is to condense, reduce or list the data ... to provide a synopsis. As
I see it, block-level elements such as headings or paragraphs should not be
used within a data cell if the "data" doesn't fit the technicalities for
language use. For example, a paragraph typically consists of one or more
sentences; and a sentence consists of a subject/verb combination. If a verb
is missing in a fragment, such as you might see as a succinct or condensed
entry in a table cell, how can one accurately mark-up the "data" as a
paragraph? Conversely, if the "condensed" data is presented in a list of
items, then <ul> or <ol> within a cell seems quite appropriate. Typically,
however, the document structure is implemented in the table mark-up. I
think this could be seen as a general guideline.

2. If the question actually regards the use of <table> for page layout,
then why even consider its use when there are better options available
today, such a CSS for positioning? I would pose this question despite one's
contention that the table linearizes in a readable order. Yes, there are
still some limitations to what you can do with CSS positioning, but 2, 3, 4
column layouts are possible and, with some creativity and diligence, you
can accomplish about the same results as you might with the use of nested
tables. Really, there should be a greater push to eliminate the use of the
table tag for page layout.


Bill Williams

"We had a discussion recently about the nature of datatables.

The question is, which html-elements and which contents are allowed inside
data-table, too keep it as accessible and as flexible as possible.

And: Should text- structure elements be allowed (p, li, ul, ol)


Definitely forbidden:

Received on Monday, 10 May 2004 13:20:48 UTC

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