No repeat option wanted for headers and footers in table options
When you've got headers and footers in tables, there is no way to prevent them from repeating at all.
There are currently three options in InDesign Table Options:
1. Every Text Column
2. Once per Frame
3. Once per Page
I'd like to see an option for "NONE" or "NO REPEAT".
I can also think of "Once per Spread" as a valid setting, but NONE is the most important, since the current solution is to convert the headers to body rows, and that destroys the information about the header rows actually being headers.
Roy Behymer suggested the same thing. When working with XML import and hundreds of tables there is a need to use headers. Also, as I wrote in the question, turning header rows into body rows will destroy the implicit information about the data being header data. Please read my answer to Roy on the same issue.
It would be an improvment to InDesign tables if my suggestion was to be implemented. Is was actual need when I worked with this issue.
David Creamer commented
For "NONE" just apply the Header Cell style directly to the "header" row(s)--don't use an actual header row.
I would like the ability to mark a body row as a header row (or a similar solution) so that alternating fills ignores these rows.
Think of Table styles and working with hundreds of tables in your documents... and then the sudden need to change those table into showing no repeated headers (and then back into repeated headers again).
Using Table styles, header rows can not be styled differently from body rows, unless they ARE marked as headers.
If you've only got one table in your document, the problem is not a big one. The thing is that you can not change this behaviour and apply (or keep) such a special formatting for header rows, that you mention, on many tables at once.
Example: Last year I imported xml (with head AND cell data marked up separately), creating 100s of tables in a document with headers repeated for each column. I used a table style to set up separate formats for headers and body cells. When almost all the manual touch-up was done in the document our customer decides that the headers are not to be repeated. Since InDesign lacks the ability to change this in a simple way we had either to change all this manually (converting row by row) or via scripting, calling "Convert to Body" and explicitly setting individual Cell styles for the top-most cells.
The number of header rows may also be more than one for each table: It's no a good idea to recognize a type of data (header contents) just by its formatting attributes. If you want to do something with all header rows, you can't just make a script that affects all "first rows" of all tables, you need to check some part of a style attribute.
So yes, we want them to be header rows, not to lose their status as headers, in case we'd like to change their behaviour back into repeating headers or change their formats.
Roy Behymer commented
Is there a reason it has to be a header, yet not behave as a header by repeating at the head of frames/pages/etc.? If it's only to be on the first page, there's no reason I know to have InDesign treat it as a header. It sounds like it is a body row, just with special formatting to distinguish it from the actual table body.
Am I missing something?