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Re: lynx-dev TRST: the next step

From: Philip Webb
Subject: Re: lynx-dev TRST: the next step
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 21:07:45 -0500 (EST)

991106 Klaus Weide replied to Philip Webb:
>> looking forward to better table support, i compiled 2-8-3dev.14 .
>> unfortunately, the first set of tables i wanted to make use of
>> did not meet TRST's extremely limited capabilities.
>> Lynx should ignore <P> ... </P> blocks when they occur inside tables:
>> they can never improve Lynx rendering & can make it very bad.
> except if the table is used just for display formatting purposes
> of non-tabular material.  In that case, mostly ignoring the table elements
> (minimal table support) and honoring <P> is better.  I don't have
> any good heuristics to determine which case we are dealing with
> (and determine it early enough).

tables used for display-formatting are always going to be in danger
of looking bad with Lynx, which expects everything to be text-oriented,
so from the point of view of getting Lynx to handle material
which is appropriate for it as well as it can,
ignoring <P>'s should usually result in the more useful display.
>> to see what happens goto ,
>> where there is an example of a table from a recent transit report
>> with the <P> tags deleted (by hand) & then with them left in place.
>> Lynx makes an excellent job of the first; the second is grotesque.
> An excellent job?  Not exactly.
> Did you notice the difference when toggling ^V?

no: why should i toggle ^v ?  it does look worse with 2-8-2dev.14 .
the original table was included in a printed report
which i shall get my hands on later when convenient,
but which our transit system kindly provide on the Internet as well ...

> That table is full of invalid HTML (invalid nesting),
> even after your removal of <P>, which has an effect on lynx
> and shows up as different rendering in TagSoup/SortaSGML.

... created with some piece of software which converts to HTML
from an original probably in M$ Word (possibly WordPerfect);
the secretarial staff at the TTC have no expertise in HTML,
little time to spare for the conversion exercise, no money to waste
& no time to spend explaining to me exactly what they do;
they have probably checked the result with Notstraight & Exploiter
& would be quite reasonable in asking me why i don't use one of them.
that's the real everyday world of government & business,
with which i sometimes find myself having to deal professionally.

if TagSoup/Sorta make a difference, the user chooses which s/he prefers.

> If you want to work on this,
> it might be useful to start with less broken examples.

this is not an idle "example": it's a very serious document,
outlining capital spending on our transit system 2000-2009,
whose content i want to read for professional purposes
& its tables are very typical of those in such documents.
Lynx should be able to reproduce those tables adequately.

i notice you don't deny the original Lynx rendering is grotesque (wry grin).
> Also note the alignment of cell contents: all the numeric fields are
> left-aligned, when they should be right-aligned.  Since the HTML sets
> the alignment in ALIGN attributes of the <P>s, rather than of the
> <TD>s, you lose the alignment info by just excising the <P>s.

i had indeed noticed that, but it hardly affects the usefulness
of the tables once they are reproduced omitting the <P>'s.
>> surely, it's an easy matter to have Lynx ignore <P> tags within tables,
>> at least as an option in  lynx.cfg .
what i want is TableSoup, preferably available by keystroke like Tagsoup.
> He even thinks he has some valid excuses for not starting down that road...

there are always excuses, but yours sound to me like the pedantic fatalism
which i hoped had disappeared from Lynx development when FM retired (smile).
> what about <BR>, <CENTER>, <DIV> or all the other tags
> that normally cause line breaks?

<BR> & <DIV> should also be ignored in TableSoup mode;
i'm not sure about <CENTER>, which would depend on experience.

> What if the contains more than one <P>?
ALL <P>'s would be ignored in TableSoup mode.

>> could he or someone else
>> tell me where to start in the source to do it myself.
> That's the spirit. :)

thanx lotz for what follows -- snipped -- ,
which i will archive carefully until i have time to peruse it.
i may have comment on lynxcgi later: i've never understood what it does.

you did start to get tables working in Lynx:
don't be so fatalistic about what can be achieved.

SUPPORT     ___________//___,  Philip Webb : address@hidden
ELECTRIC   /] [] [] [] [] []|  Centre for Urban & Community Studies
TRANSIT    `-O----------O---'  University of Toronto

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