[html5] HTML and the table axis attribute

Matthew Millar M.Millar at southwayhousing.co.uk
Mon Mar 31 04:13:12 PDT 2014


Firstly, I realise HTML 5 has obsoleted the table axis attribute, and that this discussion relates to a superseded standard. - This discussion is academic.

My question is simply around the purpose and utilisation of the table axis attribute when it was originally defined.

The table axis<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/tables.html%23adef-axis> attribute is defined as:
This attribute may be used to place a cell into conceptual categories that can be considered to form axes in an n-dimensional space. User agents may give users access to these categories (e.g., the user may query the user agent for all cells that belong to certain categories, the user agent may present a table in the form of a table of contents, etc.).

My interpretation of this is that the axis facilitates logical transforming of table data. Which would provide a foundation for filtering data, as well as dynamically redefining the table axis.

An example where I see this being useful, would be client side dynamic adaption of table content (e.g. filtering) and client side includes, such as using various table webpages (similar to a database schema and tables).
For example, an FAQ: "To administrate the Domain, log onto the domain controller: ", with the PDC domain controller's IP address dynamically selected and inserted by the client from a separate page with a table.

I realise this is the design of a database (with the exception of client, rather than server, side inclusion); again, I am trying to understand the reason axis was originally standardised.

Have I understood the original ratification for the axis attribute?
If so, was a client-side inclusion technology, compatible with granular extraction of table data, ever created?

Again, I recognise this is not an aspect of the current standard. This is academic, to understand what technologies were conceived from a former standard.

Many thanks,

Mathew Millar

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