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  1. #1
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    <td>'s Greater Meaning?

    Last question for the evening, I promise

    My sister is learning HTML and she asked me what does <tr> and <td> stand for... I told her I assumed <tr> was was table row, but as for <td> I haven't got a clue.

    Anyone?
    Timothy Boronczyk

  • #2
    jkd
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    Table data. Contrary to common practice, tables hold data, and are not presentation tools.

    Table-based layouts are usually disaster for accessibility, and totally slaughters any semantic meaning to HTML.

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    Now Bluephoenix, your misssion if you choose to accept it, is work out what <TH> means



    ...okay it's not hard.



    Specifying text sizes in px seems to stuff things too, you can't enlarge or reduce text in IE unless it's pt (I assume).
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  • #4
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    <TR> is a new table row and <TD> comprises each data cell in a particular row...

  • #5
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    Originally posted by jkd
    Table data. Contrary to common practice, tables hold data, and are not presentation tools.
    I'm just a newbie, but what the heck do you mean? Most sites I've seen use tables for presentation tools

  • #6
    jkd
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    I meant just what I said. Tables were never meant for use as presentational elements. Nor should they be used as presentation elementsm as they tend to pose a severe problem with web accessibility, among other things.

    I've been able to do most layouts I've seen with CSS and proper markup, and this includes layouts that use complex tables nested several layers deep.
    (And when CSS3's column-related properties are standardized, multi-column layouts become that much easier.)

  • #7
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    Originally posted by jkd
    I meant just what I said. Tables were never meant for use as presentational elements. Nor should they be used as presentation elementsm as they tend to pose a severe problem with web accessibility, among other things.

    I've been able to do most layouts I've seen with CSS and proper markup, and this includes layouts that use complex tables nested several layers deep.
    (And when CSS3's column-related properties are standardized, multi-column layouts become that much easier.)
    And that severe problem would be??? Tables work just fine for doing layouts. Don't confuse the newbies now.

    Layouts using nothing but positioned layers are not very accessible for screenreaders. Wouldn't you consider that a "severe problem" as well? Hmmm?
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  • #8
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    The problem with screenreaders and tables is that the readers don't know whether to read across or down; depending on the table content, one or the other might make more sense, but the reader can't know that.

    But this applies to any table - whether it's presentational or a true data-table; so ditching table layouts because of that one issue is not the obvious conclusion it might seem.

    I'll echo Spookster's point - although this is a potential problem, it quickly pales compared to the problems with positioned-div based layouts; even today, these are very difficult to implement x-browser, due to a variety of inconsistencies and bugs; impossible if you factor in legacy browsers like ns4 and ns3. Table layouts are okay; try making this page without them ...

    Something to work with - a very basic table layout like this:

    <table align="left" width="20%"> ... left nav bar ... </table>
    <table width="80%"> ... main content ... </table>

    is no more of a problem for screenreaders than the same layout in DIVs.

    Really .. design itself is what cause screenreader problems. Their ideal page has no styling or layout at all, but is simply linear text in headings and paragraphs. Ideally, we'd all be making our pages in pure XML and serving user-preferenced data presented any way they want. But one thing at a time, eh
    Last edited by brothercake; 01-09-2003 at 10:39 AM.

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    jkd
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    Straight from the HTML 4.01 specification:
    Tables should not be used purely as a means to layout document content as this may present problems when rendering to non-visual media. Additionally, when used with graphics, these tables may force users to scroll horizontally to view a table designed on a system with a larger display. To minimize these problems, authors should use style sheets to control layout rather than tables.
    I'd like to believe the people who created HTML know what they are talking about.

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    They know what they're talking about; that doesn't mean their designs are completely right, or that their assumptions are correct. ie - "this may present problems" - which doesn't mean it will, only that the potential is there.

    I hear a lot of talk about what "might be a problem for screenreaders" but who here actually uses a screenreader to test their layouts? I do, and I can tell you from experience that table-based layouts are not inherently problematic when used intelligently.

    I have no particular affinity with tables over any other element; they're just so damn useful. Show me a realistic alternative and I could be persuaded to change my mind ...

    As a side note - it is dangerous to treate the w3c like they always know best. What about "px" defined font sizes - afaik the standards aren't implicit about whether these should be resizeable or not. We all know in hindsight that they should be, but the initial ambiguity means that early adopters (ie, ns4) implemented it as fixed - because the priorities at that time were more eye-candy features for the sake of easier corporate branding which the commericalisation of the web was demanding. So many or most of us have "grown up" using non-resizeable text without even realising it.

    To adopt an attitude that you shouldn't use something for anything other than its original purpose seems rather short-sighted to me. Guitar amplifiers were never designed to be deliberately distorted; but where would rock music be without it ...
    Last edited by brothercake; 01-09-2003 at 08:23 PM.

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    jkd
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    Originally posted by Spookster
    Layouts using nothing but positioned layers are not very accessible for screenreaders. Wouldn't you consider that a "severe problem" as well? Hmmm?
    How can you possibly say that? A correctly done CSS-layout, when all the style is removed (content is read from top to bottom regardless), remains very readable, logical, and easy for any user agent to present to the user.

    A table layout's structure is more often than not, completely out of synch from the logical order of content. This makes it a pain for blind people, as the content order no longer makes sense as it did in the visual representation.

    And besides, tables were never meant for presentation. If you do write table-based layouts, you aren't writing correct HTML. Do you use an axe to put a nail throuh a board? No, you use a hammer. Do you use a table to present a webpage? No, you use CSS.
    Completely different tools for specific jobs.

  • #12
    jkd
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    Originally posted by brothercake
    To adopt an attitude that you shouldn't use something for anything other than its original purpose seems rather short-sighted to me. Guitar amplifiers were never designed to be deliberately distorted; but where would rock music be without it ...
    What about separation of content and presentation? Tables wreck that, as the presentation is inherently dependent on the markup.

    HTML is not a layout language. Never was, never will be. There are well-defined semantics to each tag, not well-defined presentation. Show me where in the specs does it say that a <select> should render as a dropdown menu? It says a <select> creates a menu, which is defined as:
    Menus offer users options from which to choose. The SELECT element creates a menu, in combination with the OPTGROUP and OPTION elements.
    A user-agent can choose however the heck it wants to render that.
    Same is true for many other tags.

  • #13
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    Originally posted by mouse
    Now Bluephoenix, your misssion if you choose to accept it, is work out what <TH> means



    ...okay it's not hard.



    Specifying text sizes in px seems to stuff things too, you can't enlarge or reduce text in IE unless it's pt (I assume).

    Table Header, no?

  • #14
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    Originally posted by Phip
    Table Header, no?
    Correct, i see you learned from the above discussion
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    Does anybody ever use <TBODY> and <COLGROUP> tags? I never see any tutorial cover them, so I'll tell you what they do. You know how TD inherits bgcolor, etc from TR, and that from TABLE which gets bg from BODY. Here's a more complex level of tabling:

    <TABLE>
    <COLGROUP>
    <COL>
    <TR>
    <TD></TD>
    </TR>
    </COL>
    </COLGROUP>
    <TBODY>
    <TR>
    <TD></TD>
    </TR>
    </TBODY>
    </TABLE>

    Each tag here can have some attribute like bgcolor That tree is an example of how some less known tags can override their parent tags. Also, note that COLGROUP has higher priority than TBODY. These tags can save you lots of space if used wisely. As in "making each first cell in a group of rows in a table a certain color". CSS2 can also define this more, but I don't know any browser that implements it.


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