tables with Unicode box drawing characters?

Waylan Limberg waylan at
Wed Sep 9 00:54:53 EDT 2009

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 12:18 AM, Suraj Kurapati<sunaku at> wrote:

> Hello,


> I read David Wheeler's table proposal[1] for Markdown and very much

> agree with his conclusion and PostgreSQL-inspired proposed format.  I

> also read the mailing list archives for 2009 but did not find any

> clear concesus on whether DW's format was officially accepted (I hope

> it is soon!).

I didn't go back and check but I think there was in a previous
discussion with a similar proposal. In other words, you need to go
back further in the archive.

Basically, these proposals for more complex tables are outside the
scope of Markdown and should be left to raw html. At least I seem to
recall actual implementers leaning that direction. Of course, if
someone wanted to implement David's proposal (or some variant) and
users flocked to it, then the rest of us may follow suite. Until then,
I'm sticking to the simple solution we have now.

Hint (and shameless plug): Python-Markdown makes adding on something
of the sort easy with it's extension API. Check it out here:

> What if Markdown used Unicode characters to express tables in this manner?


> All we need are two essential subsets of the Unicode box drawing characters:

> * thin ones for normal cells: ┌ ┐ └ ┘ ─ │

> * thick ones for heading cells: ╔ ╗ ╚ ╝ ═ ║


The last few times someone proposed a syntax that didn't use commonly
found keys on the keyboard, the proposal met with a *lot* of
resistance. I suspect most users wouldn't even know how to type these

Another barrier is that not all implementations support Unicode (I
think - at least not fully). Therefore, some implementations may never
adopt such a proposal.

Third, it seems like it would be an awful lot of work to build such a
table. A lot more than some of the existing proposals out there.

\X/ /-\ `/ |_ /-\ |\|
Waylan Limberg

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