Re: table usage (was Re: text on graphics?)

Walter Ian Kaye (
Sat, 11 May 1996 16:41:34 -0700

Message-Id: <v02140b06adbac35b428a@[]>
Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 16:41:34 -0700
From: (Walter Ian Kaye)
Subject: Re: table usage (was Re: text on graphics?)

At 3:13p 05/11/96, Murray Altheim wrote:

>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.

I'm not pretending that was the original intention; I simply maintain that
my usage is not at odds with it.


>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.

And this is exactly how I use ROWSPAN in my page headings. Remember the
picture I drew with the graphic on the left and the welcome message in
three rows on the right? Well, consider the title graphic as a row heading,
with the 3-part welcome message as tabular data. The type of data sequence
is alliterative: "Welcome to", "Walter's", "Web". Get it?
As for my scrolling buttons, each hypertext link (button title text) is an
individual data record; the button background is an embellishent. I have
not misused tables in this case either! My data is my data. Is someone
going to tell me that hypertext links may not be regarded as data? Items I
choose to organize in a table are tabular data, period. People can make all
the value judgements they want; it won't change the facts. By definition,
data=anything. Ask any Object-Oriented database developer -- they'll agree

I think I've made my point. Those who can grok it, will; those who can't,

One last thing: Artistic presentation is data, too! Sure not everyone can
see it, but not everyone can see a sunset -- does that mean we should
discourage sunsets? Should we disallow graphics on web pages because a
visual is not some person's idea of "real" data? Stop the value judgements
already. Leave that to the marketplace! HTML is for delivering data, and no
HTML/SGML purist should tell web authors what constitutes data; that is for
the author to decide. Tell me what tags and entities are valid, that's
fine. Censor what data I can put between the tags? No thank you.


    Walter Ian Kaye <>     Programmer - Excel, AppleScript,
          Mountain View, CA                         ProTERM, FoxPro, HTML     Musician - Guitarist, Songwriter