Re: Tables: what can go in a cell (part 2)

Murray Maloney (murray@sco.COM)
Tue, 7 Feb 95 16:34:42 EST

Hear, hear!

> I'll state up front that my bias comes from the SGML world that existed before
> the development of the HTML aplication. While that bias has certainly been
> shaped by working in traditional, linear, paper-based publishing, I've also
> spent a lot of effort on HyTime and other hypertext/hypermedia issues.
> With that said, my suggestion for what should go in a table cell is that it
> should be almost any text elements (and from the SGML/HyTime point of view
> that includes graphics, sound, and just about everything else) but _not_
> high-level hierarchical elements (e.g., <body>, <h1>, <h2>). Although current
> HTML is nonhierarchical, I believe that it will need to evolve towards
> hierarchical models if it is to be able to deal with scientific and technical
> information, among other things. (In other words, I'd like to see <body>
> enforced as a container and would go even further to replace <h1>, <h2>, etc.
> with container elements that consist of a title followed by data that might
> include lower-level container element.)
> I fear that the urge to allow elements like <h1> inside cells results from the
> sparse nature of the current HTML application. People will tend to use <h1> in
> a cell because they want to get a different look for some text and not because
> the item affected is of h1 importance to the overall document. (Sure, I'm
> guilty of tagging something as an <h2> just to get typographic
> differentiation, but at least i _feel_ guilty when I've done it.) I feel that
> we should evolve towards a richer set of elements so that the temptation will
> be less attractive. I admit that I'm not intimidated by DTDs in the
> 200-element class. They're certainly different from the current
> "keep-it-simple" HTML philosophy, but, with proper documentation they can be
> made managable. By moving in the direction of tables, we're already making the
> DTD more complex, even if we never get to the stupifying levels of complexity
> I've seen in some DTDs I could name.
> (I also reconginize that if we allow <a> in a cell, someone can link to
> another whole document, complete with enclosing <html> </html>. But that
> doesn't break the DTD. That's similar to what SGML itself has in mind with the
> SUBDOC feature: the ability to include a "complete" document inside another.)
> In summary: we should allow lots of things in cells, but we should increase
> the number of things available for use in general rather than do
> counterintuitive things like allowing <body> and other high-level structuring
> elements inside cells.
> Jim Mason (