This specification extends HTML to support tables. The table model has grown out of early work on HTML+ and the initial draft of HTML3. The earlier model has been been extended in response to requests from information providers for improved control over the presentation of tabular information:
In addition, a major goal has been to provide backwards compatibility with the widely deployed Netscape implementation of tables. A subsidiary goal has been to simplify importing tables conforming to the SGML CALS model. The latest draft makes the ALIGN attribute compatible with the latest Netscape and Microsoft browsers. Some clarifications have been made to the role of the DIR attribute and recommended behaviour when absolute and relative column widths are mixed.
A new element COLGROUP has been introduced to allow sets of columns be grouped with different width and alignment properties specified by one or more COL elements. The semantics of COLGROUP have been clarified over previous drafts, and RULES=BASIC replaced by RULES=GROUPS.
The FRAME and RULES attributes have been modified to avoid SGML name clashes with each other, and to avoid clashes with the ALIGN and VALIGN attributes. These changes were additionally motivated by the desire to avoid future problems if this specification is extended to allow FRAME and RULES attributes with other table elements.