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Re: HTML 4.0, TABLE/TD width units incongruity

From: Dan McGarry <dmcgarry@libraxus.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 15:07:29 -0500
Message-ID: <001601be3f30$58ff2990$5c1b2fce@ella.SYMPATICO.CA>
To: "Walter Ian Kaye" <walter@natural-innovations.com>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
-----Original Message-----
From: Walter Ian Kaye <walter@natural-innovations.com>
To: www-html@w3.org <www-html@w3.org>
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 1999 1:29 PM
Subject: HTML 4.0, TABLE/TD width units incongruity

>The HTML 4.0 spec (loose.dtd) indicates:
>   <TABLE WIDTH="123"> --valid
>   <TD    WIDTH="123"> --valid
>   <TABLE WIDTH="50%"> --valid
>   <TD    WIDTH="50%"> --invalid (!)
>Why???  Looks like a mistake to me. Navigator and IE have supported
>percentages as TD widths for a very long time, and it is absolutely
>*vital* for scalability. Why does 4.0 specify only pixels for TD width?

1) Netscape and Microsoft have supported *different interpretations* of
percentage widths in <TD> for some time. Navigator seems to interpret the
percentage value as a percentage of the entire viewable screen, while MSIE
interprets it as a percentage of the width of the table. I suspect that this
is the reason that no percentages are included in the HTML 4.0 transitional.

2) In HTML 4.0 strict, this attribute does not appear at all. I'd suggest
that the use of widths in tables is only useful when they're being used for
layout purposes. Perhaps you should take a look at what CSS can offer in
terms of suggested layout? I'll confess that I still use tables for layout
when I can't find a suitable alternative, though my experience has been that
specifying widths generally causes more problems than it solves.
Dan McGarry
Libraxus, Inc.
Received on Wednesday, 13 January 1999 15:05:13 UTC

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