REQUEST TO CHANGE TABLE DTD IN HTML 4.0

MegaZone (megazone@livingston.com)
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 01:40:20 -0700 (PDT)


Message-Id: <199710260840.BAA14864@server.livingston.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 1997 01:40:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: MegaZone <megazone@livingston.com>
Subject: REQUEST TO CHANGE TABLE DTD IN HTML 4.0

I asked about this before but never got a reply.

I'd like to have the DTD modified so that the TFOOT is allowed AFTER
TBODY.  I tested it in NS 4.03 and IE 4.0.  Only IE 4.0 does the correct
thing and places TFOOT contents at the end of the table.  N 4.x still puts
it at the top, above the TBODY contents.  And, of course, ALL older clients
will do the same thing.

Test it at <URL:http://www.megazone.org/table-demo.html>

I have never seen a good argument for keeping TFOOT above TBODY.

"TFOOT must appear before TBODY within a TABLE definition so that user
agents can render the foot before receiving all of the (potentially
numerous) rows of data."

This is not good enough.  This is not justification for *forcing* authors
to place it before TBODY.  GIVE AUTHORS THE CHOICE.  If it is a major
concern, and they can't afford to mess up on older UAs, they can put it
first.  But for many of us the speed of rendering is of absolutely minor
importance compared to backwards compatibility and correct rendering of
content.

"Following the CALS table model (see [CALS]), this specification
allows table rows to be grouped into head and body and foot
sections. This simplifies the representation of rendering information
and can be used to repeat table head and foot rows when breaking
tables across page boundaries, or to provide fixed headers above a
scrollable body panel. In the markup, the foot section is placed
before the body sections. This is an optimization shared with CALS for
dealing with very long tables. It allows the foot to be rendered
without having to wait for the entire table to be processed."

I don't view this as justification either.  Translation from HTML to 
other formats would be automated, and it is so easy to reorder content
during translation.  So if the concern is in translating from other CALS
UAs to HTML, that is not a valid reason to force the ordering in HTML.

"Very long tables" are a minority in my view.  Few tables I encounter 
online are so long that they'd benfit at all from this ordering.

If TFOOT is forced to be included before TBODY two things will happen:

1. Users will ignore the DTD and put TFOOT after TBODY anyway, since 
the only major UA to handle it at this point (IE 4.x) doesn't care.

2. People who really want to stick with the DTD will be forced to not
use TFOOT on Internet documents because of rendering issues with legacy
browsers, and the current version of the most popular browser - Navigator.

*PLEASE* allow authors to decide which is more important and place
TFOOT according to THEIR needs.

<html><head>
<title>Table Demo</title>
</HEAD>
<BODY bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000" link="#0000ff" vlink="#b245b0"
alink="#2cbfe5">
<H1 align=center>TABLE DEMO</H1>
<TABLE>
<CAPTION>Current DTD Style</CAPTION>
<THEAD><TR><TH>THIS IS THE HEAD</TH></TR></THEAD>
<TFOOT><TR><TH>THIS IS THE FOOT</TH></TR></TFOOT>
<TBODY><TR><TD>THIS IS THE BODY</TD></TR></TBODY>
</TABLE>
<HR>
<TABLE>
<CAPTION>Modified DTD Style</CAPTION>
<THEAD><TR><TH>THIS IS THE HEAD</TH></TR></THEAD>
<TBODY><TR><TD>THIS IS THE BODY</TD></TR></TBODY>
<TFOOT><TR><TH>THIS IS THE FOOT</TH></TR></TFOOT>
</TABLE>
</BODY></HTML>

IE 4.0:

TABLE DEMO
Current DTD Style 
THIS IS THE HEAD 
THIS IS THE BODY 
THIS IS THE FOOT 

Modified DTD Style 
THIS IS THE HEAD 
THIS IS THE BODY 
THIS IS THE FOOT 

NS 4.03:

TABLE DEMO

   Current DTD Style
 THIS IS THE HEAD
 THIS IS THE FOOT
 THIS IS THE BODY

  Modified DTD Style
 THIS IS THE HEAD
 THIS IS THE BODY
 THIS IS THE FOOT


(Another interesting issue - this is how it is displaying on IE 4.0:
THIS IS THE HEAD 
THIS IS THE BODY 
THIS IS THE FOOT 

This is how it 'pastes' after a hilight and 'copy' operation:
THIS IS THE HEAD 
THIS IS THE FOOT 
THIS IS THE BODY 

It is being copied in *source* order for some reason...)

-MZ
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