Re: HTML 3.0 questions/issues

Bill O'Donnell x3378 (
Sat, 21 Jan 1995 00:21:53 +0100

Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 23:16:11 +0100
From: "Dave Raggett" <>
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
X-Comment: To sign off, send mail to with body DEL WWW-HTML

Thanks Michael for some searching questions!

This sounds hard, but is in fact a short piece of code.

> Also, what format are relative column widths in? Are they expressed as a
> percentage of the total width (e.g. 50 being half the width) or are they
> expressed as a floating point number (0.50 being half the width) or what?

I would feel most comfortable with using numbers representing the percentage
of the final table width. This isn't critical though, as you can divide the
numbers given by their summed value to obtain the fractional widths. Are
people happy with a convention for percentage widths?

It's certainly not critical, but I'd prefer using straight numbers (not
a percentage) for specifying relative width, because:

1. I am incredibly biased, this is the way Interleaf tables do
relative column widths. :-)

2. Specifying simple relative units allows the user to add columns
more easily. Suppose you had a 3 column table. The first column
is perhaps a narrow "subject" list, and the next two columns are
wider "data" columns. So, you perhaps want the subject column to be
1/3 the width of each of the data columns. You then specify the
subject column to have relative with of 1, and each other column to
have width 3. Later when you want to add a third data column, all
you have to do is add another column and give it width 3. If you
had set up percentages, you would have to recalculate
and change the widths of all four columns. This becomes painful if
you have dozens or hundreds of columns.

Now, this isn't a big deal, because your authoring system should
hide all this from you anyway, using whatever UI you like best for
specifying relative widths. But if people are serious about letting
HTML remain easy to author directly, a non-percentage system is

Bill O'Donnell Prospect Place
Interleaf Inc 9 Hillside Ave Waltham, MA 02154