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Item5119: Usability: Show vertical cell separators in tables

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TWiki 4.x no longer shows a vertical indication of cell borders. Apparently this is done for esthetics, but we got several requests to have some kind of visual indication of cell borders. See latest one in TWiki:Support/VerticalCellBorderInTables.

For better usability I suggest to release 4.2.0 with a non-intrusive border.

Current table look:

Heading A Heading B Heading C Heading D
A1 B1 C1 D1
A2 B2 C2 D2
A3 B3 C3 D3

Screenshot of suggested change:

-- TWiki:Main/PeterThoeny - 12 Dec 2007

This is not necessary for 4.2. Use tablerules="all" for either the TABLEATTRIBUTES or the TABLE tag:

Heading A Heading B Heading C Heading D
A1 B1 C1 D1
A2 B2 C2 D2
A3 B3 C3 D3

-- TWiki:Main.ArthurClemens - 12 Dec 2007

Re-opening this. I am referring to the default table look in the TWiki distribution.

-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 12 Dec 2007

Don't confuse the requests of some for usability.

Following Tufte: it is about the data, not about the grid. Actually, Tufte would abandon the alternating striped background as well.

Personally I find the layout of tables of attachments and WebChanges improved.

See for another comparison http://www.alistapart.com/d/stripedtables/comparison.html

What I find important is that the table design can be altered by the user now. This is possible since TablePlugin is styled by inline CSS.

-- TWiki:Main.ArthurClemens - 12 Dec 2007

I trust Arthur in his design decision. Both of the mentioned examples (attachments and WebChanges) are very appealing now, imho.

-- TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen - 16 Dec 2007

I think this whole thing is a mix up of several requests.

  • In 4.1.2 - in IE only - the vertical bars did not work at all. This problem is fixed in 4.2.0.
  • In TWiki:Support/VerticalCellBorderInTables the requester is bitten by this issue. He runs without TablePlugin activated. I can confirm that in 4.2.0 this has been fixed so that the complete grid is shown and it looks nice.
  • In TWiki 4.2.0 - the internal vertical lines are not visible by default - defined by the TABLEATTRIBUTES setting in the TablePlugin topic. If you do not like this default all you have to do is change this default. I think many people changes this default in many different ways depending on colour choices in their skin tailoring and the choice of DEFAULT display of grid lines probably depends mostly on what type of data you normall show.

I was not happy with the grid lines in 4.1.2 either because it did not work in IE - but in 4.2.0 I find that it works fine and that I can get the default settings I need easily without having to hack in CSS files or template.

To change the default gridlines to all you change this setting in TablePlugin or even better in Main.TWikiPreferences

So users can add this to Main.TWikiPreferences (I copied the default and only change the tablerules to "all")

   * Set TABLEPLUGIN_TABLEATTRIBUTES = tableborder="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" valign="top" headercolor="#ffffff" headerbg="#687684" headerbgsorted="#334455" databg="#ffffff,#edf4f9" databgsorted="#f5f5f5,#dce7ee" tablerules="all"

And then they get the vertical rules.

Test Me
1 2
3 4

I would say this is all fine now. I like the default as it is because looking at the default TWiki documentation all looks great. It is at the end of the day a matter of taste AND a matter of what kind of data you normally show in tables. I personally tailor the settings to have less bright colours in the rows and less clear marking of the sorted columns. I think many tweaks the setting to their needs so I agree with Steffen to trust Arthur on the default out of the box experience on this one. I think the out of box look is great.

And the usability is OK since it is a simple setting that is needed to alter the default. No need to hack CSS or other complicated changes. It is easy and accessible and well documented.

-- TWiki:Main.KennethLavrsen - 16 Dec 2007

Peter I have set this as waiting for you. I prefer you set it to No Action yourself if you agree on my statement above. No Bug Ping Pong wink

-- TWiki:Main.KennethLavrsen - 17 Dec 2007

I disagree agreeably on the default setting (foremost based on usability feedbacks we got, and based on on my personal preference.)

Arthur is in charge of the UI, so let's keep this to his preference.

-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 06 Jan 2008

Summary Usability: Show vertical cell separators in tables
ReportedBy TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny
Codebase 4.2.0, ~twiki4
SVN Range TWiki-4.3.0, Sun, 25 Nov 2007, build 15790
AppliesTo Engine

Priority Normal
CurrentState No Action Required


TargetRelease n/a

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Topic revision: r8 - 2008-01-06 - PeterThoeny
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