W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > December 2009

Re: Bug 8404 -- taking it to the lists

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 11:12:10 -0600
Message-ID: <643cc0270912020912j4c1b9996gaa8f04f34bd63228@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: Jeroen van der Gun <noreplytopreventspam@blijbol.nl>, public-html <public-html@w3.org>
On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 10:51 AM, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 9:56 AM, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com> wrote:
>> We're just now getting people to stop abusing HTML tables for layout,
>> and now we want to encourage people to abuse HTML tables for
>> illustration purposes?
> Yes, because it's not abuse.  It's still tabular data.  Nothing about
> <table> says that you should only use if it's *real* data.  Data is
> data is data, whether for illustrative purposes or what-have-you.
> Are you still suggesting that a better alternative is to screenshot
> the table and insert the image into your page as a <figure> instead?
> That is, in my opinion, ludicrous.  What would you put as the
> alt-text?  What could possibly be a more appropriate description of
> the table *than the table itself*?
> ~TJ

Most of the examples of tables I've seen used in figures that people
have shown have, most likely, been screenshots anyway. That's why many
so-called tables in figures have been in figures: because they're
screen shots from other tools and other sources.

The style guides that Laura produced even specifically say do NOT use
a table in a figure, and there's reasons for this. Figures are
illustrative -- the data is typically meaningless. If you want a table
with meaningful data, you reference as a table, as in Table 1.1 and
Table 1.2 and so on. There are even style elements in book publication
templates that differ between a figure and a table, and a figure
cannot contain anything that isn't an image file (typically a TIF or a

I don't understand why people would disregard standards and
styleguides and what not, from organizations and companies far more
experienced at the publication business than most folks in this group,
and look for a few examples (your 'tens' compared to tens of
thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of what we would expect for a
figure), just because we seemingly can do all of this technically.

And I don't understand why people would put illustrative tables as
real HTML tables in a document, when the tables contain crap, and
search engines will get the crap, and return people to the page who
are expecting that the crap, is actually real.

Figures are illustrative. This is the norm.

Received on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 17:12:50 UTC

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