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Re: Breaking Dependencies - @summary (FW: Call for Review: German WCAG 2.0 Candidate Authorized Translation)

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 11:50:26 -0700
Message-Id: <DB974558-252A-41F3-B95B-CA6F98B12D84@gbiv.com>
Cc: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
To: L.David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
On Aug 4, 2009, at 10:44 AM, L. David Baron wrote:
> So my example here is actually summary.  Suppose we define "feature"
> a little more broadly, so that instead of saying the feature is "the
> summary attribute on the table element" we say the feature is "use
> appropriate HTML markup to provide an overview of the structure of
> data tables".
> Ian's claim is that HTML5 offers *better* mechanisms for summarizing
> tables than the summary attribute.  In other words, my understanding
> of what Ian says is that he claims summary falls into this second
> category.
> The best way to convince me that it instead falls in the first
> category is to explain why Ian's mechanisms [1] are not an
> improvement, preferably by showing examples where @summary works
> better than Ian's replacement for it.

As I wrote last night:

   2) when transcoding an existing (often paper) document to HTML,
   one cannot simply add a caption that doesn't already exist --
   that would be changing the historical record.  One can, however,
   add a summary so that the visual presentation is described
   to a non-visual audience.

The same is true for any other arrangement of elements that will
be rendered by an existing HTML user agent.  All of the other
options mentioned by Ian will result in text appearing on the
printed page -- summary is the only way to implement the above
that already works exactly as specified for deployed browsers.

> -David
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jul/0148.html

Ian's entire premise is based on the theory that an author of HTML
is able to change the visible content of the document at will, and
therefore free to add a wide range of descriptive text and mark-up
within the visible page.  Since that premise is false, the argument
for deprecating summary is also false.

I believe that the WAI folks are aware of all the arguments that
Ian described, long before Ian started working on HTML5, and are
simply working with a much larger set of constraints brought by
real HTML publishing efforts.  Keeping @summary in HTML5 exactly
as it was specified in HTML4 (or perhaps with better guidance and
much better examples) does not prevent HTML5 from providing
additional mark-up that would improve accessibility in the future.
For now, however, @summary exists for a good reason and should not
be deprecated.

Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 18:51:07 UTC

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