# [NTG-context] imbalanced columns

Thu Jul 15 19:37:32 CEST 2010

```On Thu, 15 Jul 2010, Peter Rolf wrote:

>>> also: i can't imagine how a user interface for this should look like.
>>
>> \setuptables[spanalign=balance]
>>
>
> right. you can implement all kind of different spanning algorithms. i
> would expect that 'balance' would share the additional space equally on
> all involved columns.
>
> but table macros in tex are really ugly. you need tons of bookkeeping
> data for maxima, styles, multi-column|row, whatever. and tex has no data
> types for bookkeeping (like a programming language), so you have to
> store all the data in macros, dimens... it's a complete mess. have a
> look at the macro definitions and you will agree :)
>
> anyhow, i expect much better functionality (e.g. clever spanning
> alternatives) with a lua based table implementation. we have to wait for
> that.

Also remember that the starttable macros are just a wrapper around TaBlE
macros written by Michael Wichura. I don't know if those have enough hooks
to support a high level interface.

Have you tried using natural tables. Now you can use them with almost the
same amount of typing as the old table macros.

\startTABLE
\NC text 1 \NC text 2 \NC\NR
\NC text 3 \NC text 4 \NC\NR
\stopTABLE

and you have a high level interface of \setupTABLE (although I do not know
if natural tables support equal column widths)