Man pages sections > man1 > freetable

freetable - tool for making HTML tables generation easier

FREETABLE(1) Freetable FREETABLE(1)

NAME

freetable - tool for making HTML tables generation easier

VERSION

This manpage describes version 2.3 of freetable.
It might be not 100% accurate if you use different version.

SYNOPSIS

freetable [options] filename
or
freetable [options]
Possible options are :
-h, --help Print usage info and exit
-V, --version Print version information and exit
-c, --comment Insert comment before every cell to point its location
-b, --no-nbsp Do not insert   to empty cells for lowered-3D apperance
-w, --warning Print a warning before each generated table that you should not change it. You should change its source.
-l, --location Substitute <row> and <col> flags inside table with correct cell's location
-m, --macro [program]
Use macro procesor to proces cells content (default: m4)

WARNING

 DO NOT USE MACRO PROCESSOR OVER UNSURE SOURCE
 M4 MAY BE USED TO COMPROMISE YOUR SECURITY
 FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS EXEC :
info m4 'UNIX commands' syscmd

DESCRIPTION

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. 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.

TABLE SYNTAX

It is very easy:
    wwwtable :
    <wwwtable [wwwtable_options]>
    [preamble]
    [cell]
    [cell]
    ...
    </wwwtable>
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
    cell_content
    header_cell :
    ((row,col)) cell_options  
    cell_content
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.
If you use -m (or --macro) option, it will be passed thru m4(1), with <row> and <col> set to adress of curent cell
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 :
    <wwwtable>
    (*,1)
    these are colums 1
    (1,*)
    these are rows 1
    (4,4)
    </wwwtable>

ALTERNATIVE CELL ADDRESS SYNTAX

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.

EXPLICIT RANGES

    (rowrange;colrange) cell_options
    cell_content
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
    (1-100,32;1)
    foo
    (+,)
    bar
Cell (33,1) will contain `foobar' and all others only `foo'.

ARBITRARY PERL CODE

    ({code for rows},{code for tables}) cell_options
    cell_content
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:
    <wwwtable>
    ({grep {$_%3 == 1} 1..100},{1..2,4})
    foo
    </wwwtable>
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.

INCOMPATIBILITIES WITH WWWTABLE

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 :
    ((1,*))
It was impossible in wwwtable.
Axis counters are 100% orthogonal. This mean that code :
    (*,1) width=30
    (*,2) width=35
    (*,3) width=40
    (=,=)
    Foo
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
    (=,1)
    Foo
or
    (*,) width=30
    (*,+) width=35
    (*,+) width=40
    (=,1)
    Foo
In freetable 2.0 two new methods o specifying cell address were introduced. They are completely incompatible with wwwtable.

BUGS

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

SEE ALSO

m4(1)

AUTHOR

Tomasz Wegrzanowski <taw@users.sourceforge.net>
2016-09-25 perl v5.24.1