[whatwg] Enhanced data tables

Afternoon afternoon at uk2.net
Fri Dec 3 09:32:43 PST 2004

On 3 Dec 2004, at 17:18, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Mon, 8 Nov 2004, Matthew Thomas wrote:
>> All HTML tables are already data-bearing, unless they're 
>> non-conformant.
>> (<td> stands for Table Data.) You might make a case that <table> is 
>> more
>> often used incorrectly than correctly, but you would then also need to
>> make a case that creating a "separate designation for data-bearing
>> tables" would solve the problem.
>> The latter would have two main pitfalls. Firstly, authors who had used
>> <table> properly in good faith would be annoyed that *they* were the
>> ones having to change their markup, rather than the authors who had 
>> used
>> <table> wrongly to begin with.

I'm annoyed by this already.

>> Secondly, the mistaken authors might
>> *also* start using the new syntax just because it's the cool thing to
>> do, even when it's inappropriate (just like they jumped from using <b>
>> to using <strong> even when it was inappropriate, or from using <i> to
>> using <em> even when it was inappropriate, or from producing "HTML" to
>> producing "XHTML" even when it was not well-formed).

I think that's unlikely.

> Yeah, for tables <table> is indeed the way to go.
> The data grid idea that I assumed Ben was referring to isn't quite the
> same as a table, although I'm finding it difficult to justify the
> difference. From a practical standpoint the difference between a 
> <table>
> and a data grid is that the table's data is all in a DOM content model,
> whereas the data grid can be dynamically populated from script, one 
> row at
> a time, so that only the displayed portion need be in memory at any one
> time.

I don't believe the data necessarily needs to be absent from the 
content, although it certainly could be.

> Another difference is that tables have a legacy of rendering
> semantics which we can't do much about, whereas for the data grid we 
> want
> to be able to use GUI-specific native controls (or native-looking
> controls) which have features such as clickable column headers, 
> draggable
> column separators, etc. Also, datagrids are limited to text in each 
> cell
> (with one icon per row), rows can be selected, data can be marked as
> editable, etc.

This is my key point. These features increase the usability of data 
grids in native controls. Adding them to browsers would create more 
functional applications for less work on the author's part.

> There is a big overlap, but they aren't the same.

Indeed, a browser that assumed every <table> was data-bearing and 
should have controls displayed would be all but useless.

((Ben Godfrey) (Software) (see "http://www.cohack.com/?src=eval"))

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