Sent by Donna Smillie on 22 August 2003 13:01
On Fri, 22 Aug 2003 14:18:00 +0300 (EEST), "Jukka K. Korpela"
>On Fri, 22 Aug 2003, Andy Budd wrote:
>> Personally I can't see how people can class forms as tabular data.
>Try defining "tabular data", and you will see.
Hmmm... well, I'd define tabular data as a set of items which have a
relationship to each other, and where the structure of that
relationship is best expressed in tabular form. I'd go further and
say that, when truly tabular data is displayed in tabular form, each
data column represents a set of data which could meaningfully be
presented on its own (with appropriate row/column headings), and
similarly with each data row.
>> not *displaying* data, your capturing data.
>A form defines a set of form fields with associated labels,
>plus maybe something else.
Intrigued as to what you mean by that? Or are you just thinking of
things like submit buttons, etc?
>The inherent associations make the form, or part thereof,
>logically a table, with labels in one column, corresponding fields in
I'd disagree with that. A tabular *layout* is, I agree, the visually
clearest and most logical way to display most forms, but that doesn't
make a form tabular *data*. As Andy said, a form is a means of
capturing data, not a means of presenting structured data.
The basic unit which makes up most forms is a form field with its
associated text label. In structural terms, the following is a clear,
correctly structured form:
<p><label for="item1">Item 1</label> <input type="text" id="item1"
<label for="item2">Item 2</label> <input type="text" id="item2" /><br
<input type="submit" value="submit" /><br />
<input type="reset" value="reset" /></p>
There is no data relationship between the two text items. Nor is
there any data relationship between the two input fields. The
structural relationship between each text item and input field is
quite correctly defined in the form markup, and no benefit, in
structural terms, is gained by adding table markup.
In terms of visual layout and clarity, however, the addition of a
table (or table-like styling) to contain and present the form can make
a big difference. But I'd suggest that that's entirely a
layout/presentation issue, and not anything to do with the data
structure of the form.
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