W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2007

Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 13:24:40 -0400
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070618170554.M74482@hicom.net>

Lachlan Hunt wrote, quote:
> No, even if the summary attribute were added to HTML5, it 
> certainly shouldn't be required.
unquote

why not?  CAPTION is akin to ALT text - it provides a terse description 
of the object that cannot be visually perceived; the summary attribute 
itself serves the same purpose as LONGDESC (which provides a detailed 
description, orientational material, etc.)

with all due respect to the self-styled quote WCAG Samurai unquote, the 
quote you included in your response is ridiculous in the extreme...  it 
is a criticism of implementation, not of a basic underlying principle of 
W3C Technical Recommendations -- that equal access to page elements be 
provided to any user regardless of that user's circumstances...  there is 
absolutely NO reason why a user agent or an assistive technology couldn't 
yank the contents of a summary attribute for a table and reuse that 
metadata in whatever way the developer chooses, but if there's nothing to 
yank, then NO ONE has access to the metadata...

so, rather than go round and round in circles, here is a formal proposal 
(wiki page to follow):

PROPOSED: Summary should be: (a) retained, and (b) be a REQUIRED 
attribute for the TABLE element.  The meta-data contained in the 
summary element should be reused by user agents or assisstive 
technologies to provide a visual slash renderable version of the 
meta-data provided by the summary attribute.

gregory.

PS: if ANY element should be deprecated as a visual construct and 
relegated to CSS it is TABLE, for TABLE has meaning only inasmuch 
as one is able to visually perceive the spatial relationships between 
data and its classification.  just because data is presented in tabular 
form, does NOT mean that it cannot be presented in myriad other forms, 
for the table is merely a VISUAL expression of data set relationships; 
the underlying data and bindings are the same no matter how presented.

now THAT is the type of issue which the WCAG Samurai SHOULD be 
addressing.

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             Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
  Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
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Received on Monday, 18 June 2007 17:25:26 UTC

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