04
Feb
11

Generating Table HTML


Yesterday I had a session with the marketing department regarding the web content management system they use. They had been having a few problems with it and wanted a bit of an explanation regarding what they can and can’t do. One of the main problems they were encountering related to adding additional rows to a table. Now for anyone with a basic HTML understanding this is a very simple task, however they don’t touch the SOURCE view at all and will only work with the WYSIWYG. Normally this isn’t a major issue, but in this content management system the edit functionality for a table doesn’t work.

I tried to demonstrate how to add a new row in the SOURCE view:

<tr><td></td><td></td><td></td></tr>

very simple at which point they could switch to the WYSIWYG view and deal with adding content etc. This wasn’t doable. Ok, fine, no problem, code (as they refer to it) _does_ confuse some people. My alternative option was to find a table generator online that they could use and then copy paste the html it generated in, replacing the existing markup. This was a well accepted option so I went to it looking for a user friendly table generator that would create simple elegant html. We didn’t want a generator that would supply any style data (except where specifically requested for a single cell etc), the website has it’s own external style sheet that needs to be used. This was the first problem, most generators that would allow the remotest higher level control (such as adding background colours, merging cells etc) would supply very detailed CSS for every cell. The website already has an external CSS, we don’t want that over ridden (it’s quite specific regarding tables), and then others wouldn’t allow you to even specify if it was a header or footer of the table. One that I found wasn’t even free.HTML TableFactory is charging $45.00 per license! All it does is tables o.0 – I downloaded the trial to see what made it worth such an investment, and whilst it provides the ability to manipulate the table quite effectively (especially in regards to merging cells) it couldn’t even create a link properly. The html it produced was self-sufficient so your own style sheet wouldn’t get a say in the matter. There wasn’t even an option to override that. *frustration*.

I did mange to find a few other potential options:

Below I’ve compiled some comparison points between the difference Table Generators:
~ = partial compliance
X = fail
O = complies

Includes Head Body and Footer Tags Allows for Colour Allows for Multiple Colour Produces Clean Markup Produces Minimal Required CSS Allows Merged Cells Allows a Set Width Is Free Easy to Use
Kotatsu X ~ ~ O N/A X O O
HTML Table Code Generator 2.0 O X X O N/A X O O
HTML Table Generator with CSS ~ O ~ O O X O ~
Table Generator ~ X X O N/A X O O
Nublue HTML Table Generator ~ ~ ~ O N/A O O O
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2 Responses to “Generating Table HTML”


  1. 1 Mulan
    February 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    trying to understand this, damn i wish i did IT, i never knew that HTML was a form of coding, always thought it wasn’t

    • February 6, 2011 at 7:53 am

      It’s a markup language, while not a programming language (as in it doesn’t provide any logic syntax) there is still a … lingo? that a person needs to learn to use it, for example someone who has never made a webpage will not understand what ul li ol do, or the difference between span and div, there is also the whole browser compatibilty thing which adds another layer of complexity. It’s not enough to just know HTML anymore, you’d need to know CSS as wel and in many cases Javascript (and this is before you start looking at the complex languages such as PHP, JSP, ASP etc – CSS is not a programming language, but Javascript is.)


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