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Re: Heuristic Tests for Data Tables (Discussion)

From: Ben 'Cerbera' Millard <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 03:02:58 +0100
Message-ID: <007c01c7e397$675837b0$0201a8c0@ben9xr3up2lv7v>
To: "T.V Raman" <raman@google.com>
Cc: "HTMLWG" <public-html@w3.org>

T.V Raman wrote:
> The other interesting question t answer would be "how many of the
> data tables have a real data alternative as XML" on the Web.

Are you implying HTML is not "real data"?

In my experience, the answer is "none of them". The tables I come across in 
my day job are either:

1. Generated from private databases which are not made public.
2. Authored by an employee in a word processor and then sent for publication 
to the website:
    a. In the more technically proficient organisations, another employee 
converts the document into HTML using some mixture of automation and 'elbow 
grease'. This HTML is then published on the website.
    b. Sadly, the document is commonly published as an untagged PDF. Not 
much we can do about this except encourage better conversion tools (as is 
[happening]) and encourage stronger policies for structuring the original 
document (which is becoming a [recognised] need).

Of the 33 tables I have [collected] so far , none had a publically available 
alternative in XML. Yours is a clever idea and might work well in the few 
instances where an alternative data type is available in a richly structured 
and standardised format, such as those weather forecasts.

But simple HTML can already be [adequate].

Perhaps we can make some amount of widespread and poorly authored HTML 
adequate, too. Perhaps we can make it more than adequate. The common cases 
are where the most widespread improvements can be made for users, in my 
judgement.

[happening] <http://www.blether.com/archives/2007/05/review_riverdoc.php>
[recognised] 
<http://alastairc.ac/2007/07/responsibility-for-accessible-content/>
[collected] <http://sitesurgeon.co.uk/tables/readme.html>
[adequate] <http://www.accessifyforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=53924#53924>

--
Ben 'Cerbera' Millard
Collections of Interesting Data Tables
<http://sitesurgeon.co.uk/tables/readme.html> 
Received on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 02:03:34 GMT

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