Re: Remarks on Tables draft

Scott E. Preece (
Tue, 25 Jul 95 13:52:07 EDT

From: "Terry Allen" <>
| | * By default, header cells are centered while data cells are flush
| | left. This can be overriden by the ALIGN attribute for the cell
| | or a matching HSPEC element.
| Why not use the same default?

Because it's the most common usage? At least, I tend to find it so.

|   |    <!ELEMENT (th|td) - O %body.content>
|   We may be stuck with TH and TD, but I just want to point out the rich
|   possibilities for tag abuse.  If I can put a table inside a table,
|   if I can distinguish THEAD and TFOOT from TBODY, if I can set up
|   rendering properties based on the number column, or the number and
|   class of row, I could probably set up proper table headings, footings, 
|   and even table stubs without having two cell elements.  As two 
|   elements are provided, they'll be abused for presentation rather than 
|   used with their apparently intended semantics.  Be prepared, and too
|   bad for the print impaired!

I'm not sure I see what you're aiming at. In my mind TH is used for cells that are "part of the furniture" - fixed information that is meant to be part of the presentation of the table, rather than of the data contained in the table - and TD for "data" - variable stuff that is inserted into the table for display. That seems like a useful semantic distinction and separate from the THEAD/TBODY/TFOOT distinction that controls what parts of the table are supposed to be always visible.

While I agree that people might misuse the TH/TD distinction as a handy way of getting their different default presentations, are you suggesting we'd be better off doing without the ability to present the semantic distinction?


scott preece
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