Re: support for Tables

Subject: Re: support for Tables
From: Johan Stenfors (
Date: Mon Oct 16 2000 - 07:29:17 CDT

Should not Automatic headings numbering be on the list TODO ? I personally find it the most important feature missing.

About the Tables, when the time comes, I believe we should wite a specification of the file format/internal format of a table. Then definitions for methods (low level) to add/change delete a table cell. (A row and a column are several cells, might be done as iterative cell operations).

When this design is done, several implementation/user interaction ideas can compeete. Than we can choose the most promising implementation, and it would only affect the user interface, the internals would be the same.

How about the HTML definition of a table ? Is it too basic to be sufficient ?

My opinion is that what is important is to design the data format for the Tables, the rest is just coding.


--- Martin Sevior <>
> wrote:
>On Fri, 13 Oct 2000, Vlad Harchev wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Just curious, how much code is already present in AW to support tables?
>> Is support for tables planned in the not-so-distant future?
>> Seems this is the only major feature AW lacks compared to other word
>> processors.
>> If detailed discussion is available in list archive, I would love to see it
>> too.
>There have been discussions but nothing that would really advance the
>cause. We would all LOVE tables support but the concencous is that we
>should complete the current list of features before attempting tables.
>For example before tables we should have:
>1. Page Numbers (some code from Sam not finished yet).
>2. Headers/Footers. The infrastructure is in place but it is not connected
>to a GUI yet. It has not been extensively tested and appears to be buggy.
>(It is partly the reason Sam has not been able to finish Page Numbers.)
>3. Page setup. We should be able to choose the size and orientation
>(portrait/landscape) of the page as well as headers/footers.
>4. Styles. We should have a nice GUI to allow users to choose and define
>their own style.
>5. Sophisticated fields. I think I'm on the right track here but Paul Rohr
>would like a different design. Given that I have code that's almost ready
>and he has the weight of good arguments I'm in a quandry about what to do.
>6.? Table of contents. I guess this is a test case for the sophisticated
>Fields implementation. I think I know how to do it with the framework I'm
>working with. This is not on the feature list for 1.0 but it is a good
>proof of concept we're on the right track for sophisticated fields.
>At present these are the main features we're lacking for a 1.0 release.
>On the way to implementing Tables we should first develop:
>A. Text boxes (like a latex mini-page) that have a defined height and
>width and are formatted on a line like an image.
>B. Frames. More sophisticated Text boxes that are basically mini-pages
>which allow images and text to be intermingled. So images and figures can
>have figure caption for example.
>That said, I've been thinking about how we would implement A, B and then
>tables later. As I see it tables are a special case of Text boxes arranged
>to be contiguous and to share a common vertical height.
>AbiWord currently has the concept of a "container" that is used to contain
>formatted text. (Look in fp_Column.cpp) These are presently used to
>define columns and headers and footers. I believe it will be pretty easy
>to add new types of containers like text boxes and frames. The part that's
>not done will be to allow these to float around the page as if they are
>We will also have to come up with a good GUI design to allow the user to
>easily manipulate these as well as cut/paste and undo/redo support.
>Once we have A and B done we will be well on the way to doing tables.
>Having worked through all that was needed for the sophisticated Lists
>support we now have I think it would not be much more work to do text
>boxes and Frames. After that we should look carefully at how other
>programs handle tables.
>Regarding equations in gnome there have been at least 3 attempts to start
>an equation editor component but they've all been still born. Maybe after
>Abiword gets bonobo support there will be sufficient motivation to finish
>it off.

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