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Re: correct markup of empty cells in a data table


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Mar 22, 2005 4:49AM

On Tue, 22 Mar 2005, jens.meiert wrote:

> "" or "" is nonetheless "less worse"
> than " ", correct me if I'm wrong.

Well, since you asked... your first alternative is simply
_wrong_, as I explained. The second one has an empty cell as
opposite to a cell containing a no-break space. Why would either
of them be less worse than the other, since logically neither of
them says why the cell lacks actual content, and in practice
most browsers treat them the same way, except perhaps for background
and border. And these visual details, which are the reason for
using  , make the table clearer, or less obscure.

> And this must
> not belie that these scenarios usually need to be checked - I suspect
> anything to be "suboptimal" if you need larger spanning cells.

Spanning cells, whether used for layout or due to the structure of the
data, are problematic indeed. The mere fact that the table's structure
is not a simple matrix (grid) any more makes the table more difficult,
and sometimes considerably more difficult to some people. Various
accessibility-oriented extra attributes to the elements in the table
don't solve much, and besides, most authors don't know how to use them.

So the question is what one might achieve, in a particular case, and to
weigh this against the problems.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/