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About the good usage of Tables


Contents
  Use tables for tabular data only
  How to handle large tables?
  Framed paragraphs, colored backgrounds...  

Use tables for tabular data only

Table tags have to be used only when displaying tabular data and not like in Web page authoring for layout purposes. There is no exception to this rule.

Nested tables are not supported : this means you cannot put a table tag inside a cell of another table. This mechanism is mostly used when doing positioning of elements in Web sites, not for tabular data. However, rowspan and colspan attributes are supported, so you can do almost everything you need with only one table tag and smart use of rowspan & colspan.

Here is an example of a table that will work well in Mobipocket ebooks in HTML format:

Fruit #/week Sales % Remarks Sales
Apple 4 $ 250,000 25% Sold well $ 250,000
Peach 2 $ 150,000 13% $ 150,000
Banana 5 $ 670,000 31% $ 670,000
Pear 3 $ 560,000 19% Need more
marketing
$ 560,000
Plum 2 $ 432,000 13% $ 432,000
Walnut 1 $ 35,000 3% $ 35,000
Pineapple 15 $14,000 2% Prospective
sales
$14,000
Grapefruit 5 $1,345,000 23 % $1,345,000
Hazelnut 3 $ 25,000 45% $ 25,000
Total 16 $3,679,000 235%   $3,679,000

How to handle large tables?

Table parsing and display is very CPU intensive and is slow compared to any other HTML tag. Moreover, the Mobipocket reader can handle tables that are larger than the screen but the user experience becomes worse as the table size grows. You should therefore avoid large tables. If you encounter a table that covers a whole paper page, or a table that contains a lot of text in one cell, you are basically in front of a non-reflowable layout. Both rendering it in HTML or  as an image will not work well because the resulting page will be much larger than a screen and the user will have difficulties reading it. Here, creative action has to be taken to redesign the table as something else that is reflowable.

Example of a table that will not work in Mobipocket Reader: the following table is large and contains lots of text in its cells which means it should not be rendered as an HTML table or even an image but reformatted instead:

Drug name Known adverse effects Known benefits Similar drugs Dosage
ABUNAMON
  • Causes nausea. Do not prescribe to people who have been diagnosed with digestion troubles in the past.
  • Do not prescribe to pregnant women. This drug can cause fetus malformations and miscarriages.
  • Not for use with children under 5 years old or under 20kg of weight.
  • Not for use during a week after any sedation treatment
  • Regulates immune system responses
  • Reported to have beneficial effects on mood and behavior too
  • EDENTROPIL from the XYZ laboratory
  • UINOVAL, injectable doses
  • PONINOLAM, injectable doses
  • MOLONAL, oral tablets, 5 and 10 mg
  • MINERVON from YTS laboratory, available as tablets and injectable
  • KLANDRATROPONIL, oral tablets
  • EXUVENIL, injectable doses
  • SAGRAMENTAL, tablets
  • Children between 5 and 10 years: 0.5 mg/kg/day in 3 takes during meals.
  • Children over 10 years: 1 mg/kg/day in 3 takes during meals.
  • Adults: up to 200 mg/day depending on condition and observed effects
CLOSTRAMON
  • General weekness and muscular pain
  • Abdominal discomfort, nausea
  • Do not prescribe to pregnant women. This drug can cause fetus malformations and miscarriages.
  • Not for use in geriatric care
  • Do not use for children under 18
  • Multiple beneficial effects on overall psychological state
  • PONINOLAM, injectable doses
  • MOLONAL, oral tablets, 5 and 10 mg
  • MINERVON from YTS laboratory, available as tablets and injectable
  • EDENTROPIL from the XYZ laboratory
  • EXUVENIL, injectable doses
  • Adults: up to 200 mg/day.
  • Doses have been confirmed to lose effect after 200 mg/day although severe adverse affects only appear beyond 1000 mg/day.
And so on And so on And so on And so on And so on

This table can be reformatted in the following reflowable way:


ABUNAMON

Known adverse affects:
  • Causes nausea. Do not prescribe to people who have been diagnosed with digestion troubles in the past.
  • Do not prescribe to pregnant women. This drug can cause fetus malformations and miscarriages.
  • Not for use with children under 5 years old or under 20kg of weight.
  • Not for use during a week after any sedation treatment
Known benefits:
  • Regulates immune system responses
  • Reported to have beneficial effects on mood and behavior too
Similar Drugs:
  • EDENTROPIL from the XYZ laboratory
  • UINOVAL, injectable doses
  • PONINOLAM, injectable doses
  • MOLONAL, oral tablets, 5 and 10 mg
  • MINERVON from YTS laboratory, available as tablets and injectable
  • KLANDRATROPONIL, oral tablets
  • EXUVENIL, injectable doses
  • SAGRAMENTAL, tablets
Dosage:
  • Children between 5 and 10 years: 0.5 mg/kg/day in 3 takes during meals.
  • Children over 10 years: 1 mg/kg/day in 3 takes during meals.
  • Adults: up to 200 mg/day depending on condition and observed effects

CLOSTRAMON

Known adverse affects:
  • General weekness and muscular pain
  • Abdominal discomfort, nausea
  • Do not prescribe to pregnant women. This drug can cause fetus malformations and miscarriages.
  • Not for use in geriatric care
  • Do not use for children under 18
Known benefits:
  • beneficial effects on overall psychological state
Similar Drugs:
  • Adults: up to 200 mg/day.
  • Doses have been confirmed to lose effect after 200 mg/day although severe adverse affects only appear beyond 1000 mg/day.
Dosage:
  • Adults: up to 200 mg/day.
  • Doses have been confirmed to lose effect after 200 mg/day although severe adverse affects only appear beyond 1000 mg/day.
And so on...

Framed paragraphs, colored backgrounds...

Framed paragraphs or paragraphs you want to appear on a shaded background should never be rendered with a table. A table with a lot of text in one cell will not work well. If a single table cell does not fit into the screen, it will not be paginated and content will be lost.

You can render framed paragraphs using the <div> tag with border and background color attributes. Here is an example:

<div style="border: 1px solid black; background-color: gray;"><font color="white" size="+2"><img src="img/bookmark.gif" />Important information to be displayed in a frame so as to attract attention.</font></div>

Will display as:

Important information to be displayed in a frame so as to attract attention.

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