More continuing text for tables

David E. Wheeler david at
Thu Jun 25 12:27:19 EDT 2009

On Jun 25, 2009, at 6:30 AM, Sherwood Botsford wrote:

> 1. Editing with non-elastic tab stops? While Nick's idea is good,

> the

> number of editors that support it is small. Editors are a religious

> issue.

> I doubt that people will switch editors in order to use MMD tables.

And it's not just editors: It's browsers, too. One of the great things
about Markdown is that you can display the plain text anywhere and it
will just work. Tabs are completely contrary to that, however. Elastic
tabs may work as a nice convention in small teams writing source code,
but tabs are evil for widely distributed code and documents.

> 2. I would like to see an option for a non-white character. I've

> been

> burned a few times by text processors that convert tabs to spaces.

> This

> will also ease the transition if you are changing the spec.


> 3. For row spanning, the simplest syntax that is intuitive to me

> would be a

> cell that has a single double-quote character. Effectively saying

> 'same as

> above'.

I'm not sure that's visually distinctive enough. We really might just
have to have row separators when merging rows in a cell. Or just use
HTML, like Fletcher said.

> 4. Tables are one of the biggest reasons for using MMD. The ratio

> of tag

> bytes to content bytes can be well over 1. Matching tags is always

> a pain.

> Even the clunkiest syntax proposed on this list has more merit than

> html

> table tags.


> My take: It aint broke. Resist fixing it.

I agree. Most of the suggestions I've made were evolutions on the MMD
syntax, and an attempt to eliminate non-semantic hinting characters.

> 1. Continue to support the pipe and multiple pipe syntax. Cells

> that span

> more than 3 columns are very rare, and many of these may be done

> with a

> title instead, or be broken into multiple tables that are floated

> inline.


> 2. Use quotes for row span.

Or see what cow paths develop.



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