Message-Id: <email@example.com> Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 15:13:04 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Walter Ian Kaye) From: email@example.com (Murray Altheim) Subject: Re: table usage (was Re: text on graphics?) Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Walter Ian Kaye <email@example.com> writes: >At 5:09a 05/11/96, Abigail wrote: >>Most of the time, <table> is just used to layout the web page. This >>works quite well when using a graphical browser. However, if the >>user (= reader) does something the developer (= author) has never >>dreamed off (say, using a sound browser), things can lead to sillyness. >><table>s were designed for tabular data. If they are misused to force >>a graphical layout, one limits his/her audience. > >If "<table>s were designed for tabular data", then ROWSPAN and COLSPAN >would not be allowed. These attributes are in direct contradiction to >your view of what is "appropriate" for <table>s. Do you favor deprecation >of these attributes? Certainly tools may be used for whatever purpose deemed necessary, but don't pretend using them to create presentational layout (ala page layout tools) was the original intention of tables. If there is commonly "abuse" of tables, it in the sense that the original design was not intended to create a method of complicated page layout as an alternative to more appropriate structural markup, but simply a way of marking up tabular data, and that use of tables in this manner may make programmatic analysis of document content extremely difficult. The recent thread underscoring the difficulties inherent in using drop caps upon search engines ("<FONT SIZE=5>G</FONT>rape juice") shows where presentation gimmicks can "damage" greater utility of document content. The corruption of structured document content with device-dependent presentational information is also underscored in much of the controversy over frames, which are certainly a more appropriate tool than tables for this type of presentational control. That the current implementations of frames are generally poor is not a mark against the concept, vis how most page layout software operates -- newspapers are an obvious example of frames used effectively. The current tables draft was heavily influenced and designed with compatibility with the CALS (US Navy milspec), which is used precisely for display of tabular data. The purpose of ROWSPAN and COLSPAN (if you read the spec examples) was to allow for more complicated row and column headings (also a feature of CALS), and is in no way contradictory to the use of tables for display of tabular data. Murray ``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Murray Altheim, Program Manager Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts email: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> http: <http://www.stonehand.com/murray/murray.html> "Give a monkey the tools and he'll eventually build a typewriter."