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Subject: DOCBOOK: Towards a semantic table-model

I have a number of concerns with the CALS and HTML table models, the
biggest problem being IMHO that it is really layout-oriented.

This causes major headaches when you have to maintain big tables.
Think for example of a table with row and/or columns grouped by
categories, such as they appear as nested rows and columns.  You have
to remember, each time you add/delete/move one row, to adjust the
morerows attributes, and other such tedious tasks which just show the
limits of this table model.

I have started a couple of months ago to design a table model that
would address those problems.  It currently only features nested rows,
and an extension mechanism that makes it possible to annotate row
titles, and I wrote a dsssl stylesheet to render into CALS.

Note that the DTD is an XML one, and that I did not try to replicate
all CALS features, I just implemented the ones I needed at the time.
An example document, showing a 3-level nested rows table in a docbook
article is included.

I still have a number of ideas, among which:

- <rowlevelspec>s to hold rowlevel's optional title and to
  allow <row rowlevel="name">
- nested <column>s
- anonymous (title-less rows and cols)
- no <entry morerows="..."> (use anonymous rows instead)
- no <thead> (too much layout oriented, use column titles instead)
- no <spanspec> (too much layout oriented, use nested (and maybe anonymous)
  columns instead)
- annotations on row/column titles

However I did not work on this since several months, so I figured out
it would be better to release it to the world, in those days where
table models are discussed on this list.

Yann Dirson <Yann.Dirson@fr.alcove.com>                 http://www.alcove.com/
Technical support manager                Responsable de l'assistance technique
Senior Free-Software Consultant          Consultant senior en Logiciels Libres
Debian developer (dirson@debian.org)                        Développeur Debian

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