Re: Forms and Tables

Andre J. Emmell (
Mon, 13 Feb 95 12:18:03 EST

I would like to say something to HTML designers and people who want
to modify the HTML DTD.

First, my premise. We do SGML and HTML site implementations
and are mainly working to create SGML Publishing systems where HTML
is one more "output consideration" as opposed to paper publications and
CD-ROM technology.

The major problem we encounter with HTML is the recursiveness issues.
There is nothing inherently wrong with recursion but when a database is
attempting to store this information in a true SGML, object oriented way,
there is an explosion of objects that are unnecessary.

>> Since FORMs can't be nested, what problems would we run into with something
>> like the following:

It would be nice to ... and could we include... BUT please remember that
for every
inclusion and recursion you place in the design, you exponentially multiply
complexity of the supporting system. InContext chokes on HTML as it is as
HoTMetaLpro staggers the imagination. Please don't tempt the beast. Is there
really a need for forms within forms, tables within tables and so on?

I recommend that we concentrate on stabilizing a clean and simple structure,
provide the basic required elements and adhere more and more to true SGML
principles. I ask that we, the designers of future unknown systems, consider
the growing complexity of the "mushroom" in our hands.

Sincerely and in simplicity,

Andre J. Emmell

>> Since FORMs can't be nested, what problems would we run into with something
>> like the following:
>> <FORM ...>
>> some stuff
>> <TABLE>
>> <TR><TD>some more stuff<BR>
>> <FORM ...>
>> still more stuff
>> <INPUT TYPE=.....>
>> </FORM>
>> </TD>
>> </TR>
>> </TABLE>
>> this is yet more stuff
>> </FORM
>This would cause problems for parsers. The 2.0 and 3.0 DTD's forbid
>nested forms. So the parser upon seeing the second <FORM> element
>would terminate the scope of the first one, and signal an error.
>The INPUT and </FORM> tags after the table would also cause errors.
>You could place two independent forms together side by side, but only
>if each form is held in a single cell. This is where the ability to
>nest tables comes in. You would use a nested table to lay out the cells
>for each of the two forms.
>Refer to the 3.0 DTD at
>for futher details on tables.
>The 3.0 Internet Draft will make all this quite clear (I hope).
>-- Dave Raggett <> tel: +44 117 922 8046 fax: +44 117 922 8924
> Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Filton Road, Bristol BS12 6QZ, United Kingdom