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3.15 Tabular Data Review

From: Debi Orton <oradnio@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 02:40:59 -0400
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <469b1307.0886460a.0c4a.69dc@mx.google.com>


3.15 Tabular Data

GENERAL COMMENTS:  I suggest that there needs to 
be more explanation of the use of each of the 
elements within the table model, including simple 
examples.  I also suggest for each of the 
elements within the table model that there be an 
explicit indication of whether these elements 
require a closing tag, as the HTML 4.01 
specification indicated that several (e.g., 
thead, tfoot, tbody) did NOT require a closing tag.

I am also disappointed that attributes 
particularly useful to the users of screen 
reading software are not included, specifically 
the id attribute of the th element and the 
headers attribute of the td element.  For complex 
or dense tables, these are almost required for 
screen reader users to understand the context of 
individual table cells.  I have seen arguments in 
the list that the scope attribute can supply the 
same information, but that isn't currently true 
and I don't know how the scope attribute can 
reliably be used to provide the same context for 
screen reader users that is now provided by using 
the id attribute of the th element in concert 
with the headers attribute of the td element.

On the other hand, I am happy to see the 
presentational attributes have been discarded, 
but I hope the browser implementations will 
improve so that presentational aspects can be reliably defined in stylesheets.

CONTEXT:  My frame of reference for review of 
this document is as a page author.  I understand 
that much of the information provided here also 
refers items of interest to UA developers, and I 
hope that the final HTML 5 draft will also made 
different versions of the spec available for different audiences.

3.15.1 The table Element

Suggested text in response to "we need some 
editorial text on how layout tables are bad practice and non-conforming":

The only semantic use for a table is to collect 
similar information and define each data item's 
relationship to other data items within the 
collection.  To use a table for layout is not a 
semantically appropriate use, and will be considered non-conforming.

I suggest moving the discussion of the table 
model to the top of this section to provide more 
context for subsequent discussions.  I'm also not 
sure why the DOM definitions of each of the 
table-related elements is written up here. I 
didn't see any of the other sections treated this way.

3.15.2 The caption Element

"The 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#caption0>caption 
element represents the title of the 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table 
that is its parent, if it has a parent and that 
is a <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table element."

What other legitimate usage is there for the 
caption element?  I know of none, although this 
verbiage makes it appear as if there are others.  Can we simplify it?

A reference to the "table model", which has not yet been introduced.

3.15.3 The colgroup Element

Same confusing verbiage regarding the colgroup 
element as in the caption element.  Suggest 
eliminating everything after "…that is its parent."

The section talks about the syntax of the 
colgroup element, but gives no indication of its 
intended usage.  I think an example or two would 
be helpful here, unless we are planning to lift 
the examples from the HTML 4.01 spec.

Another reference to the "table model", which has not yet been introduced.

3.15.4 The col Element

Same general comments as the other sections.

I wonder if the span attribute needs more 
explanation in this context – again, we can 
probably recycle something from HTML 4.01.

3.15.5 The tbody Element

Same general comments as the other sections.

Regarding:
" The rows attribute must return an 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#htmlcollection0>HTMLCollection 
rooted at the element, whose filter matches only 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tr>tr elements 
that are children of the element."

Is "rows" a new attribute or is this a typo for rowspan?

3.15.6 The thead Element

NOTE:  Since both thead and tfoot must precede 
tbody (at least in the HTML 4.01 spec), shouldn't 
that same order be reflected here?  If you are 
making the order more intuitive (i.e., thead  
tbody  tfoot), that will need to be explained explicitly.

Same general comments …

3.15.7 The tfoot Element

Same general comments…

"As a child of a 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table 
element, after any 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#caption0>caption, 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#colgroup>colgroup, 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#thead0>thead, 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tbody>tbody, 
and <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tr>tr 
elements, but only if there are no other 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tfoot0>tfoot 
elements that are children of the 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table element."

This entry makes it appear as if you are 
intending that the sequence of elements within 
the table model is intended to be different from 
that of HTML 4.01.  Again, if that's the case, it 
will require further explanation.

3.15.8 The tr Element

Same general comments…

" The rowIndex element must, if the element has a 
parent 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table 
element, or a parent 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tbody>tbody, 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#thead0>thead, 
or <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tfoot0>tfoot 
element and a grandparent 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table 
element, return the index of the 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#tr>tr element 
in that 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table 
element's 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#rows>rows 
collection. If there is no such 
<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#table>table 
element, then the attribute must return 0."

I am not familiar with "the rowIndex 
element."  Is this something new, and if so, why is the "I" capitalized?

I am not familiar with the cells attribute.  What is it and how is it used?

3.15.9 The td Element

Same general comments…

I would like to see the headers attribute restored to the td element.


3.15.10 The th Element

Same general comments …

I would like to see the id attribute restored to the th element.

I understand the four named states for the scope 
attribute , but the definition provided for the 
auto scope attribute is confusing.  Can it be stated more clearly?


3.15.11 The Processing Model

Although this appears to be information provided 
for UA authors, it largely made sense to me.




Debi Orton / oradnio@gmail.com
Received on Monday, 16 July 2007 06:41:17 UTC

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