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Re: tables in html? (separating content bla bla)

From: Philip TAYLOR <Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 13:39:06 +0100
Message-ID: <46F50CEA.9050000@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
CC: "www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>



Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
> 
> On Sat, 22 Sep 2007, David Woolley wrote:
> 
>> It's a design principle of HTML that it should not be used to achieve 
>> layout effects.
> 
> Is it? In reality, HTML specifications and implementations have many 
> features for the sole purpose of affecting layout.

I have been debating this very point off-line with David,
and have just sent him an extract from the HTML 3.2
reference specification (the earliest W3C HTML spec. that
appears to include tables), which reads (in part)

> Tables
> 
> HTML 3.2 includes a widely deployed subset of the 
 > specification given in RFC 1942 and can be used to
 > markup tabular material or for layout purposes.

The last four words make it absolutely clear that
layout was one of the intended uses of tables,
even though (a) the spec. goes on to point out
the downsides thereto, and (b) the current received
wisdom suggests that such a use of tables is an
abuse.  All that aside, I suspect we all agree
that achieving tabular layouts with tables is
far easier than using CSS, and that what we need
to address most urgently of all is how one can
create a tabular layout for the benefit of sighted
users whilst still being able to communicate the
semantics of the underlying content clearly and
unambiguously to all, regardless of the medium
though which the page is rendered and regardless
of the physical and congnitive abilities or
disabilities of the person seeking to make
sense of the page.

Philip Taylor
Received on Saturday, 22 September 2007 12:38:52 UTC

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