Table editing feedback


For lack of anything better to post, I would like to get an idea of what people think of the table editing in the HTML/ASPX designer in whidbey.

I spent a lot of time trying to improve this area. After VS.NET 2003 I rewrote some parts of this code, hoping to create something that was more powerful and easier to use. For example:

  • Selecting rows and columns is hopefully easier now with the selection widgets that we added.
  • Selecting cells should be easier now (you can hold down CTRL to get an Excel-style cursor, and selecting text that covers more than one cell automatically selects multiple cells).
  • All cells (no matter what the spanning) belong to one column and one row. This makes table operations like insertion and deletion more predictable.
  • Accessibility is improved. You can tab/shift-tab between cells, or arrow around them. Space/esc allow you to move deeper or shallower with nested text areas.
  • Resizing now shows you a watermark over the column/row/cell being resized, so that you know what you are resizing, and what size is being written there.
  • You can resize columns and rows through dialogs now, if using the mouse is not to your liking.
  • Inserting tables should be easier. Specifying whether you want certain attributes is clearer now, and the cell and table properties are separate.
  • Everything uses CSS now instead of attributes.

We know that people spend a lot of time in tables, because HTML documents are normally very heavy in them. That is why this area got so much attention in Whidbey. Did we go far enough? Do you like the features?

Edit: For some reason two copies of this were put up. Not sure why. The first one was deleted.

Comments (4)

  1. I was most interested in "span" management,something like "layout" view for quick creation of table structure.Can’t find this feature in whidbey…How about simplify "abstract" semantic structure management,using col(+spanning)/colgroups/tbody/thead and other advanced features of tables.Maybe alternative ability rendering of defined table layout using pure css could be useful also.

  2. Bjoern Graf says:

    Well, I cannot agree with the "HTML documents are normally very heavy in [tables]", at least not for the sites I do.

    Anyway, the new table editing seems nice from what I saw during some playing with VS WebDev Express, but I hardly use any visual designer for HTML and spend most of my time in code views so that I won’t notice improvements in that area without being pointed at them :)

  3. debby says:

    I am in a word document and using a table within that document.  All of a sudden whenever I go to edit in the table the words turn blue and then darker blue as I keep editing.  This happens in all of my documents that have a table within them.  Not on any other documents.  I don’t want this feature.  Any ideas?

  4. BenCon says:

    debby –

    The Word table editor is different to the one that I worked on. So I have no idea what the problem is or what to do about it. Sorry.