Re: HTML 3.0 questions/issues

   Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 23:16:11 +0100
   From: "Dave Raggett" <>
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   Thanks Michael for some searching questions!

   This sounds hard, but is in fact a short piece of code.

   >    Also, what format are relative column widths in? Are they expressed as a
   >    percentage of the total width (e.g. 50 being half the width) or are they
   >    expressed as a floating point number (0.50 being half the width) or what?

   I would feel most comfortable with using numbers representing the percentage
   of the final table width. This isn't critical though, as you can divide the
   numbers given by their summed value to obtain the fractional widths. Are
   people happy with a convention for percentage widths?

It's certainly not critical, but I'd prefer using straight numbers (not
a percentage) for specifying relative width, because:

1. I am incredibly biased, this is the way Interleaf tables do
   relative column widths. :-)

2. Specifying simple relative units allows the user to add columns
   more easily.  Suppose you had a 3 column table.  The first column
   is perhaps a narrow "subject" list, and the next two columns are
   wider "data" columns.  So, you perhaps want the subject column to be
   1/3 the width of each of the data columns.  You then specify the
   subject column to have relative with of 1, and each other column to
   have width 3.  Later when you want to add a third data column, all
   you have to do is add another column and give it width 3.  If you
   had set up percentages, you would have to recalculate
   and change the widths of all four columns.  This becomes painful if
   you have dozens or hundreds of columns. 

Now, this isn't a big deal, because your authoring system should
hide all this from you anyway, using whatever UI you like best for
specifying relative widths.  But if people are serious about letting
HTML remain easy to author directly, a non-percentage system is

Bill O'Donnell                Prospect  Place
Interleaf Inc                 9 Hillside Ave               Waltham, MA 02154

Received on Friday, 20 January 1995 15:27:14 UTC