[thelist] HTML tables and Content Management Systems

M. Seyon evoltlist at delime.com
Fri Feb 4 10:00:42 CST 2005

Message from Andy Budd (2/4/2005 10:43 AM)
>It's not uncommon for website editors to want to create a page containing 
>some kind of data table. These tables are often output from word, or if 
>you're lucky from Dreamweaver and then pasted into the CMS. However the 
>markup is usually pretty rotten and there is little or no control over style.
>A few CMS's use a wysiwyg system, often handled by applets or JavaScript. 
>While this makes table creation in the CMS easier, it does little for 
>design consistency or ease of use. Alternatively people can use markup 
>systems like textile. However this is simply switching one markup system 
>for another so is also not ideal.
>The best solution to me seems to give editors the ability to create table 
>"object". You'd specify the number of rows, cols and headings and it would 
>create a new table or text file that you could populate with data. You 
>could even do this automatically via a CSV output. Then you'd give the 
>editors some mechanism of inserting these objects into the page, possibly 
>via some kind of custom tag.
>The requirement for editors to insert tables into their pages seems like a 
>pretty common one so I wonder how other people have dealt with this and if 
>anybody has managed to come up with an elegant solution.

I think this is an interesting question Andy, one that will surely generate 
varied responses. On the developer's end, I think style-wise, there should 
be several preset templates to choose from, as I'm sure you wouldn't want 
every single table on the site having totally different paddings, spacings, 
text or background colours.

Data storage wise, I'd store the table contents in a multi-dimensional 
array and drop that array into a db table with an id for identifying and 
referencing it.

How the front-end solution for users to create, populate and markup the 
table is a question I'll leave to others more versed in front-end design.


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