Proposed table specification (long!)

Michel Fortin michel.fortin at
Tue May 17 19:49:43 EDT 2011

Le 2011-05-17 à 17:24, Bowerbird at a écrit :

> when it comes to tables, you put people in a catch-22...

> it has to be something that can work with existing tools,

> and it has to be something that can work with fonts that

> are proportional and nonproportional. surely you are all

> smart enough to know that the clauses are contradictory.

> the only reason to put people in a double-bind is if you

> actively want to stall 'em out, in a passive way. that's it.


> edge-cases are not as clear of a catch-22, but even there,

> you all have historic content you prefer not to "break" by

> changing your implementation, so you are at an impasse.


> but hey, if it makes you feel better, i would be happy to add

> that all of this is "only in my own humble opinion", and that

> "maybe i'm just not smart enough to see your solution", and

> whatever other evasive language i would need to say so as to

> protect you from feeling challenged or threatened, because

> that's really _not_ my intention. i have my own fish to fry...

What we really need is an effort in the style of HTML5's HTML parsing algorithm which provides an unambiguous definition of how things should be parsed. Heck, I started one a while ago for Markdown Extra, first by creating a tool to be able to evaluate what each implementation do when encountering an edge case (Babelmark, which is now hosted at <>), then by starting writing such a specification (see <>). Then I stopped because I realized it'd be too long and that I had many more interesting projects I could do in that free time.

HTML5 had some companies to back its development, Markdown doesn't. And it's not like any of us is making money selling our implementation of Markdown (or at least I don't), so I'm not sure how it'll happen.

Still, thanks for your analysis. It's refreshing to have an outsider's opinion one time in a while.

Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at

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