Mark's solution illustrates many useful features, not the least of
which is the simplicity that the use of CSS classes brings to the
rendered HTML and undoubtedly as well to the stylesheet.  Though I
would doubt the sanity of anyone who would want to display an HTML
document that is 115K lines long in a mobile device.

But Mark, are you not in effect creating a separate table with all the
details of cell padding for each component?

I wonder what the relative XSLT transformation and html display times
would be for this approach as opposed to a transformation that creates
an individual, traditional table (for want of a better term to
describe it) for each component.

As a clarification, the Cookbook stylesheets have always created a
separate table for individual each c01, not for the entire <dsc>, but
there is no reason that this could not be done at every component
level.  However, in that case, Mark's solution would have to be
speedier and much less verbous.

I have experimented with nested <div>s as Mark employs but with
relative and absolute positioning rather than cell-padding.   However,
I have encountered problems with some browsers rendering this
properly.   As anyone else tried this and, if so, have you found a

I too would like to get away from tables.  Ugh.

But as Chris Prom points out faster HTML would not be the only
solution in this situation. Other technologies and other approaches
such as delivering the finding aid in segments have been used and
would seem to have advantages in several areas where large files are
involved.    Who, after all, would want to scroll through 115,000
lines or even 5,000 lines in a single pass whatever the device they
are using?   This seems to me to be the very sort of problem that
hyper-linking is good at solving.

Michael Fox

On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM, Mark R. Carlson
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Michelle-
> The main problem with HTML tables is that the entire <table> must be
> processed before the browser will display it.  I think many of us who based
> our stylesheets off the original cookbook stylesheets are in this position
> for these types of files.  Many modern browsers and *all* mobile browsers
> choke on large HTML tables.   Some mobile browsers won't render them at all.
> There's really no good reason to use them anymore because CSS can handle
> this positioning much more efficiently.   I'm currently working on a "proof
> of concept" CSS that will work in both regular and mobile browsers.  The
> following file is 4.2 MB and comes out to 569 printed pages.  It's one of
> our largest finding aids, but this CSS renders pretty quickly and it works
> in mobile browsers.   View the source to see how CSS affects positioning.
> It still needs work and tweaking, but the proof of concept is there: that
> you can render large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
> I hope this helps.
> Mark Carlson
> UW Libraries, Seattle, WA
> On 11/12/2013 7:36 AM, Michele R Combs wrote:
>> Hello collective wisdom --
>> We have two EAD-encoded finding aids whose size is causing problems for
>> some patrons -- their browser locks up or otherwise fails to load the file.
>> We don't render on the fly; we create static HTML files.  The problem is
>> partly file size (one is 3.4M and the other is 5.8M), and partly that the
>> inventory section is a ginormous HTML table (yeah, I know) which takes a lot
>> to render and load in the browser.
>> We've come up with a number of options, none of which I feel are ideal, so
>> I'm curious if others have encountered this, how you chose to handle it, and
>> what if any impact it had on search/discovery.
>> Michele
>> +++++++++++++++
>> Michele Combs
>> Lead Archivist
>> Special Collections Research Center
>> Syracuse University Libraries
>> 315-443-2081
>> [log in to unmask]