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Tables: How Wikipublisher processes tables

What factors affect the way Wikipublisher processes tables in Web pages when these are typeset for print?

At work in a print shop

Wikipublisher processes table markup in a range of ways, depending on the type of table.

Column widths are set:

  • automatically for simple tables, calculated based on the cell contents
  • to equal values in advanced tables (line width ÷ number of columns), unless the author specifies a percentage width, in which case this is used
Simple tables.

These offer the most flexibility:

  • if it has a caption (and most tables deserve one), the table floats to the bottom of the current page, the top of the next page, or a separate float page1
  • if it has no caption, the table is printed where it falls in the text (and may fall off the bottom of the page)
  • simple tables of class=long do not float, break across page boundaries between rows, and if the first row is headings, this becomes a running header
  • simple tables of class=wide float and the body of the table (not the caption) is rotated by 90° so it prints “landscape”
  • HTML style attributes are ignored — all simple tables are printed with top and bottom rules

Simple tables also offer a way to reference the table from within the page’s body text. In the PDF, this translates into a reference to the table number. To use this feature:

  • add id=someID"cross-reference text" to the table attributes line — in HTML, the cross-reference text becomes the table’s summary attribute2
  • reference the table by using the TAB(someID) markup — you can make the first letter of the reference upper case with the Tab(someID) variant
  • if the table has an ID and summary (cross-reference) text but no caption, Wikipublisher will turn the cross-reference text into a caption
Advanced tables.

These are normally presented “as is, where is”:

  • they do not float
  • long tables split across pages between rows (unlike certain word processors one could mention)
  • most HTML style attributes are ignored — all advanced tables are printed with top and bottom rules, plus rules between rows
  • cell bgcolor and colspan attributes are processed correctly
  • the cell rowspan attribute is not currently supported

Currently, PmWiki does not provide a caption markup for advanced tables. However, Wikipublisher recognises the summary table attribute and uses this as the print caption:

  • if the (:table:) directive includes id=someID"cross-reference text", the advanced table will float
  • it will use the cross-reference text as a table caption
  • advanced tables with an ID and class=long will break across page boundaries

1 If the floathere meta type is on, LATEX will try to place all tables “here” first. (↑)

2 Make sure the ID is not a WikiWord. Starting the ID with a lower case letter is the safest way to do this. (↑)

Category: typography

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Page last modified on 30 May 2008 at 07:38 PM