1 Comment

  1. Ted Clayton

    CSV to SortTable

    Of course, it’s not yet far enough in the past, PC-wise, to mention that through a big chunk of the history of the Internet, the preferred way to implement web pages was as HTML tables. Tables have huge potential … and they are both mature, and cross-browser-compatible.

    Most table-examples you see are simplistic, and do not show the real conditions that arise when trying to do something robust in a table. A realistic table-example is my Palm-models (mobile before Mobile) feature-chart. It doesn’t fit on the screen. Scroll-bars don’t serve as nice for sprawling tables, as they do for long pages or over-sized images.

    This plugin advertises itself as a web-interface for a spreadsheet. That’s why it’s constantly trying to update the table. It’s meant to let you continue working real-time in your spreadsheet-program, which is auto-saving to a CSV export-file, which Sortable Tables is using to update a table on your page. (Your spreadsheet might even be auto-editing itself, from various sources online.)

    For fast-moving financial information, election-returns etc, the auto-update could be very
    handy. Crucial even. For a lot of our normal content, though, this is going to be borderline nuts.

    Not every table benefits from being sortable, either. An ‘informed’ ordering by a knowledgeable author can be the ‘right’ order, and value of the content is only degraded by changing it. But the sort-options does give tables some new legs. It can make it easier to find target-features in the Palm-chart.

    In an effort to suppress the use of tables for page-presentation, there arose an ‘active’ deprecation-bias of tables, across the board and for any purpose. Tables acquired a whiff of evil, no matter what you were using them for.

    But in reality, tables are an extremely adroit tool … and it’s no big surprise that there is a seeming (re)discovery of their power, as we watch a broad rebound of tables.

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