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Q&A

Q1:I made a big table and when I load the page, nothing appears for a long time. Why the wait?
A1: Because the Web browser has to figure out the size of everything in the table before it can display any part of it, complex tables can take a while to appear on the screen. You can speed things up a bit by always including width and height tags for every graphics image within a table. Using width attributes in the <table> and <td> tags also helps.
Q2:I've noticed that a lot of pages on the Web have tables in which one cell changes while others stay the same. How do they do that?
A2: Those sites are using frames, not tables. Frames are similar to tables except that each frame contains a separate HTML page and can be updated independently of the others. The new floating frames can actually be put inside a table, so they can look just like a regular table even though the HTML that creates them is quite different. You'll find out how to make frames in Hour 21, "Multi-Page Layout with Frames."
Q3:I read in another book that there is a table <caption> tag, but you didn't mention it in this book. Why not?
A3: The <caption> tag is hardly ever used, and considering how much you're learning at once here, I didn't think you needed an extra tag to memorize! Since you asked, however, all the <caption> does is center some text over the top of the table. You can easily do the same thing with the <div align="center"> tag you're already familiar with, but the idea behind <caption> is that some highly intelligent future software might associate it with the table in some profound and meaningful way, thus facilitating communication with higher life-forms and saving humanity from cosmic obscurity and almost-certain destruction. Obviously, this doesn't matter to your short-term quarterly profits, so you can safely pretend the <caption> tag doesn't exist.
Q4:Weren't there some new table tags in HTML 4? And isn't this a book about HTML 4?
A4: The HTML 4 standard introduced several new table tags not discussed in this book. The primary practical uses of these extensions are to prepare the ground for some advanced features that no Web browser yet offers, such as tables with their own scrollbars and more reliable reading of tables for visually impaired users. If either of these things is of direct concern to you, you can find out about the new tags at the http://www.w3c.org Web site. The new tags do not directly affect how tables are displayed in any existing Web browser.

Don't worry—the new tags do not and will not make any of the table tags covered in this hour obsolete. They will all continue to work just as they do now.


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