Proposed table specification (long!)

Simon Bull waysoftheearth at
Wed May 11 03:09:04 EDT 2011

Hello Thomas,

In reply to your comments...

Yes, I have assumed mono-spaced (or equivalent) rendering throughout.

Comparing examples 1.1 and example 2.3.b, yes you are correct. I need to
update the description given for 1.1 (the so called "compact form"). The
compact form (without blank lines or rules between rows) will always result
in a single table row with multiple lines per row.

However, it would be possible to also specify a "single line per row"
interpretation if that is a desired feature.

Your comment re: "line breaks" versus "blank lines" is also taken on board.

Thanks for your valuable comments,


On Wed, May 11, 2011 at 4:45 PM, Thomas Humiston <tom at>wrote:

> Notes from a writer who makes occasional light use of Markdown and is not

> involved in implementations at all (nor especially familiar with other -down

> table syntaxes):


> I view my plain-text emails in a proportional font (Verdana). Simon's

> tables look ragged that way, but readable and not terribly unpleasant.


> Such decoding of occasional monospace-intended bits is, in my view, a

> fairly conventional matter in email, and thus congruent with Markdown's

> inspiration. Perhaps the matter of mono vs. proportional is not such a

> bugbear after all, at least for small-to-medium tables (and for the rest,

> there's always HTML).


> But wait -- Given 2.1.b's handling of empty cells, it seems the proposal

> still assumes some degree of monospace involvement. Similarly, 3.1.a speaks

> of omitting a space-denoted column break from "between" two columns, a break

> that is "between" in a sense (either visual or numeric) that's likely

> obvious in monospace only.


> So in the proposal, colspans do depend on character counts, and thus on

> monospace writing tools (except in tables simple enough for manual

> counting). Well, I suppose most authors of Markdown texts use such tools

> anyway.


> A confusing bit for me: Section 2.3.b leaves me thinking that the compact

> form is usable only for single-row bodies, and NOT for, say, "three rows and

> three columns" as indicated in Section 1.1. Also, I'd suggest instructing

> authors to use "blank lines" as Gruber does instead of "line breaks" (as the

> latter connotes carriage returns and/or newline characters).


> - TH




> Simon Bull wrote:


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