WebMake Documentation (version 2.4)




  < use plugin="wwwtable_tag" />


  < wwwtable [...table options...] [freetableargs="string"] >
  ...randomly-addressed table...
  < /wwwtable>


This WebMake Perl library provides the wwwtable tag. This is a useful way to lay out HTML tables, using an more intuitive addressing system: instead of listing all table entries, one by one, left to right and top to bottom, it allows you to randomly, and flexibly, pick cells and define what goes into them.

It's currently implemented using Tomasz Wegrzanowski's freetable package. This package must be installed for this tag to be used; it can be downloaded from


The remainder of this documentation is quoted (more or less verbatim) from Tomasz' package.

Note that command-line options to freetable can be provided using the attribute freetableargs.


This is free replacement of wwwtable.

HTML is great language, but have one horrible flaw : tables. I spent many hours looking at HTML source I just written and trying to guess which cell in source is which in browser.

If this also describes you, then read this manpage and your pain will stop.

Program read HTML source from either stdin or file (WebMake note: the HTML source is read from between the <wwwtable> tags in the WebMake content). Then it searches for line starting table:

    <wwwtable [options]>

Then it analyzes table, put correct HTML table in this place and continue searching for the next table.


It is very easy:

    wwwtable :
    <wwwtable [wwwtable_options]>

wwwtable_options will be passed to <table> tags. There is no magic inside preamble. It can be any HTML text. It will be simply put in front of table.

cell is either normal_cell (<td> tag) or header_cell (<th> tag). At least it was this way in freetable 1.x. See the next section for alternative cell address syntax.

    normal_cell :
    (row,col) cell_options
    header_cell :
    ((row,col)) cell_options  

cell_options will be passed to cell tag. There is magic inside colspan and rowspan keys are parsed to make correct table.

cell_content can be anything. It may contain text, tags, and even nested wwwtables.

row and col are either numbers locating cells, expressions relative to previous cell or regular expresions to match few of them. Unlike wwwtable, freetable can use regular expresions for header cells. Also * can be used, and it mean .* really.

Relative expressions are :

= or empty means : the same as previous

+ or +X means : one and X more than previous

- or -X means : one and X less than previous

If many definisions adress the same cell all options and contents are concatenated in order of apperance.

If you want to use only regular expresions you must tell program about the last cell :

    these are colums 1
    these are rows 1


It is inconvenient to specify cell address as regular expression. So in freetable 2.0 two new methods were introduced. Both can be used to either normal or header cells.

Full bakward compatibility is preserved. To preserve it, new syntax had to be introduced. Unfortunatelly, you can't specify row address using one method, and column address using another. To come around this, both new methods are very liberal and allow you to use =, +, -, +X -X and null string with the same meaning as they have in old addressing method.

Unlike regular expression method, new methods will find out the last cell automatically.


    (rowrange;colrange) cell_options

Syntax for both rowrange and colrange is like: 1-2,4-7,9,12. Duplicates will be eliminated. For purpose of relative addresses last given number is used. So if you write


Cell (33,1) will contain `foobar' and all others only `foo'.


    ({code for rows},{code for tables}) cell_options

You can use arbitrary Perl one-liner as long as it matches our not very intelligent regular expressions and evaluates to list. Unfortunatelly there isn't any regular expression for Perl code, but as long as it doesn't contain },{ and }) it should work. Example:

    ({grep {$_%3 == 1} 1..100},{1..2,4})

Will evaluate to 100 rows x 4 columns table with `foo' in every 1st, 2nd and 4th column of every row with number equal 1 modulo 3.

If you want to use ``arbitrary code'' in one part of address and explicit range in the other, change - into .. in defenition of range, and put in between { and }.

If you want to use ``arbitrary code'' in one part of address and regular expression in the other, you have to write {grep {/expression/} from..to}. Unfortunatelly, in this case you have to specify size of the table explicitely.


If you was formerly user of wwwtable and want to change your tool, you should read this. Most of this is about regexps handling. Notice also that wwwtable couldnt do location tags substitution nor macroprocesing.

Option -w has completely oposite meaning. We dont print warnings by default, and -w or --warning is used to force warnings.

Table header fields can be specified by regexps ex :


It was impossible in wwwtable.

Axis counters are 100% orthogonal. This mean that code :

    (*,1) width=30
    (*,2) width=35
    (*,3) width=40

Foo will appear in 3rd column. If you wanted it to be in 1st you should write :

    (*,1) width=30
    (*,2) width=35
    (*,3) width=40


    (*,) width=30
    (*,+) width=35
    (*,+) width=40

In freetable 2.0 two new methods o specifying cell address were introduced. They are completely incompatible with wwwtable.


``Arbitrary Perl Code'' cell address will fail on very complex Perl code.




Tomasz Wegrzanowski <taw@users.sourceforge.net>

WebMake plugin interface by Justin Mason

WebMake Documentation (version 2.4)
Built With WebMake