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ROWSPAN issues with TFOOT

From: G. James Berigan <www-html@war-of-the-worlds.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 13:32:05 -0600
Message-Id: <v04220801b4c76c7982f0@[]>
To: www-html-editor@w3.org
I've been trying to elicit comment about this issue in both www-html@w3.org
and comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, but no one seems to be willing to
comment on it.  I hope you can comment on it or make some kind of official
stand on the issue as it impacts a program I'm developing as well as the
behavior of MSIE and the development of Mozilla.[1]

The issue where TFOOT must precede TBODY has caused some problems with
parsing ROWSPAN attributes.  Parsers today appear to parse the entire table
and then move the TFOOT to the end of the table.  This becomes a problem
when you have a ROWSPAN in a THEAD that extends beyond the bottom of the TR
rows in the THEAD and ROWSPANs in the TFOOT that extend beyond the bottom
of the TR rows in the TFOOT.  Current browser behavior has the spans past
THEAD rows spanning into TFOOT rows and into TBODY rows, as well as spans
beyond TFOOT rows into TBODY rows spanning into TBODY.  Then, when the
TFOOT is moved to the end of the table, you have a mess.

I can only see one hard solution to this problem:  It needs to be stated
that ROWSPANs that extend beyond rowgroup boundaries are illegal markup and
that browsers must either stop rowspanning at such boundaries or extend the
number of rows in the rowgroup to account for the excessive spanning and
not span into other rowgroups below (or disjointedly above).  Either change
would be in line with the new behavior of ROWSPAN=0 in HTML 4.01.

The issues can become extremely hairy when the page then attempts to hide
rowgroups with CSS and ECMAscript, including ROWSPANning across TBODY
boundaries, which is why I think this restriction needs to be applied to
all rowgroups.  The CSS/ECMAscript issue may also be a problem for
COLSPANning across COLGROUPs, but is not as dire an issue.

The sections are (row groups) 11.2.3, (colgroups), and (spanning
in general)

[1] See <http://www.war-of-the-worlds.org/html/span-vs-group.html>
Received on Wednesday, 9 February 2000 14:32:37 UTC

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