[users] Tables in Gemtext

colecmac at protonmail.com colecmac at protonmail.com
Sat Jan 2 04:36:06 GMT 2021

> 1.  It requires the client to display the table in a monospaced font,
>     which many would prefer not to use.
> 2.  Text in table rows won't be wrapped properly on narrow displays.

If you put your table in a preformatted block, then a monospaced font and not
wrapping are required by the spec, and so are a non-issue. All the tables I've
seen are in preformatted blocks, and I would consider anyone not doing that to
be making a mistake, for the very reasons you've written above.

> 3.  ASCII tables are anything but screenreader friendly, since there's no
>     semantic information about the table's structure.

Yes, that's the main problem in my opinion. I don't see a great solution really.
Perhaps if the word table is in the alt text (an unofficial idea, which is the
text right after the first backtick line), a really good client could interpret
where the cells are and read them? It would be error-prone of course, and still
not very accessible.

> 4.  It mixes information and presentation, which is against the spirit of
>     Gemini(?)

The point of preformatted blocks is to control presentation in the specific
cases where it's needed, like code, ASCII art, or I guess tables. While in
general you're right, I think there is sort of a "precedent" for this mixing.

> So, are there any other options for having tables in Gemtext

You could create a CSV or HTML file and link to it? Other than that I'm not sure,
I don't see an easy solution to this.

> adding a new syntax to the spec

I doubt this will happen, gemtext is pretty set right now. And the ability to
parse tables would go against its idea of clients only needing to look at the
first three characters.


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