DITA topics support two types of tables. One is the
most common table format used in industry, the <CALS table>
(or more recently known also as the Oasis Table Exchange Model). The CALS
table supports the spanning of multiple rows or columns for special layout
or organizational needs, and provides a wide variety of controls over the
display properties of the data and even the table structure itself.
The other table structure in
DITA is called <simpletable>. As the name implies,
it is structurally less sophisticated than the CALS table, and can be used
as a very simple, regular table for which close control of formatting is not
as important. However, the main advantage of simpletable is for describing
lists of data with regular headings, such as telephone directory listings,
display adapter configuration data, or API properties.
The <table> element organizes arbitrarily
complex relationships of tabular information. This standard table markup allows
column or row spanning and table captions or descriptions. An optional title
allowed inside the table element provides a caption to describe the table.
See simpletable for a simplified
table model that can be specialized to represent more regular relationships
The <tgroup> element in a table contains
column, row, spanning, header and footer specifications, and the body (<tbody>)
of the table.
The table header (<thead>) element precedes
the table body (<tbody>) element in a complex table.
The simpletable entry (<stentry>) element represents a single
table cell, like <entry> in <table>. You can place any number of stentry
cells in either an sthead element
(for headings) or strow element (for
rows of data).
The <colspec> element contains a column specification
for a table, including assigning a column name and number, cell content alignment,
and column width.
The <tbody> element contains the rows in
The <row> element contains a single row in
a table <tgroup>.
The <entry> element defines a single cell
in a table.
The <simpletable> element is used for tables
that are regular in structure and do not need a caption. Choose the simple
table element when you want to show information in regular rows and columns.
For example, multi-column tabular data such as phone directory listings or
parts lists are good candidates for simpletable. Another good use of simpletable
is for information that seems to beg for a "three-part definition list"—just
use the keycol attribute to indicate which column represents the "key" or
term-like column of your structure.
The simpletable header (<sthead>) element contains the table's header row. The header row is optional in a simple table.
The <simpletable> row (<strow>)
element specifies a row in a simple table. table.
OASIS DITA Language Specification v1.0 -- 09 May 2005
Copyright (c) OASIS Open 2005. All Rights Reserved.