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CSS2 Table Model

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@fas.harvard.edu>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 12:53:29 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199907251653.MAA32005@ice3.fas.harvard.edu>
To: www-style@w3.org
I have some questions and comments on the CSS2 chapter on tables [1],
which I recently read (almost) all the way through for the first time:

* Section 17.4.1 says that percentage widths for top or bottom captions
are computed relative to the table box's containing block.  What about
percentage heights?  And side captions?

* Also in section 17.4.1, do auto side margins on side captions become
zero?  Or is there some way to center both table and caption?

* What areas are covered by column, row, column-group, and row-group
backgrounds (17.5.1)?  Specifically, do the backgrounds of two adjacent
rows, columns, etc., cover the cell-spacing between those rows in the
separated borders model?  (I would think not even though it seems to
contradict 17.5.1, but I'm not sure)  Do they cover the space where a
transparent / dotted / dashed border would be in the collapsing border
model?  (I would think so.)  This was asked before [2], but never
answered officially.

* Section 17.5.2, Automatic Table Layout, the first ordered list, item
2 should mention that string values for text-align could make the
minimum column width larger than the largest minimum cell width
(probably only if all cells involved could not be broken, since string
alignment doesn't work when the cells have line-breaks)

* Should section 17.5.3 say that length and percentage values of
vertical-align should also be equivalent to baseline, since they
do not apply to cells?

* Section 17.5.3 doesn't define height on table-row-group (or
table-header-group or table-footer-group).  Should it be defined in the
same way as height for table in the first paragraph?  The definition in
chapter 10 [3] clearly doesn't fit.

* Section 17.5.3 doesn't mention padding at all.  Should it be
mentioned in the second paragraph, when describing how to find the
height of a row?

* Section 17.5.4 says that "CSS does not provide a way specify the
offset of the vertical alignment axis with respect to the edge of a
column box."  However, where should this axis go?  If the with for the
column needed by the cells aligned to the axis is smaller than the
actual column width, towards which edge (or to the middle) should the
axis be pushed?  In the example, right is used, but I don't see why.

* The border collision rules (17.6.2) are ambiguous when borders differ
only in color and the conflicting borders are on adjacent cells, or
adjacent rows, etc.  I think a rule such as:

  5. the border on the element earlier in the document tree wins

would be good.  (I chose earlier because of table-header-groups and

* In section 17.6.3, are the definitions of inset and outset borders
backwards?  I would think that, in the collapsing borders model, inset
should be the same as ridge, since two inset cells should have a ridge
between them, whereas two outset cells should have a groove between


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/tables.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/1999Jun/0001.html
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/visudet.html#propdef-height

L. David Baron     Rising Sophomore, Harvard     dbaron@fas.harvard.edu
Links, SatPix, CSS, etc.        < http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~dbaron/ >
Summer Intern, Netscape - however, opinions are entirely my own, etc.
Received on Sunday, 25 July 1999 12:53:36 GMT

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