Re: Simplicity and HTML

Christophe ESPERT (
Fri, 31 Mar 95 03:04:02 EST

In message <> 30 Mar 95 23:03:36, wrote:

> >Tables are not really complex. Describing tables in terms of their
> >appearance, instead of in terms of their logical structure (and
> >leaving the rendering details to the style sheet), is middling
> >complex.
> Ah. Do you also subscribe to the Erik Naggum Zen table model (tables
> do not esist...)? I tend to think that way.

I do not agree with the above statement. Tables do exist. The most meaningful
examples come once again from mathematics. You could always say that a table
found in a usual document is only a way of presenting information. In
mathematics you have matrices and they are tables. And there is semantics
attached to these tables. And it's not a presentation issue here. The
column vectors and line vectors in a matrix are significant.
You could even extend this to more than two dimensions and go to hypertables.
(I do not want to talk about the authoring issues here :-). The way to
structure or organize information in n-dimensional spaces is interesting.

Steven Newcomb made a very interesting proposal for a DTD that uses such
concepts and you can represent a table logical structure only with no
bias regarding presentation.

I also made a proposal for the modeling of information in geographical
information systems. Poeple who do such complex information systems
do have problems to model data. They have time dependencies, spatial
dependencies and thematic dependencies. One way for them to organize
things is to use a 5-dimension space: 3 dimensions for space, one for
time and another one for themes. All that to structure the maps.

I wrote about these cases to say that tables do exist logically and
that they are not always a presentation issue.
To come back to the table markup issue, I think that the HTML WG should
follow SGML Open recommendations and should listen to Paul Grosso. The
SGML community has a lot of experience with tables and it appears that
the consensus is indeed on the CALS model.


Christophe Espert - E-mail:
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