W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2009

Re: summary attribute compromise proposal

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 14:37:39 -0700
Message-Id: <1EFA1CDD-3FE5-47E6-8886-600A78CFB032@gbiv.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
On Aug 4, 2009, at 1:50 PM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> On Aug 4, 2009, at 1:43 PM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>
>> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> No, I mean a summary attribute being present at all, regardless  
>>> of its value. What do you think should be the validator behavior  
>>> for that case?
>>> ...
>>
>> Unless the validator develops sufficient intelligence so that it  
>> can tell a good summary value from a bad one, it should stay silent.
>
> I think silence is not an approach that will get buy-in from people  
> who think summary is problematic.

We have no need for their buy-in.  Leaving summary as in HTML4 does
not negatively impact them whatsoever -- they are merely stating
an opinion about accessibility while implementing summary anyway,
so they can choose not to use summary whenever they want.

In contrast, the people who depend on summary for the purpose of
providing summary information that is specific to non-visual agents
and not displayed by deployed browsers would be harmed by the
position that it should be deprecated.

>> Any element can be mis-used and in fact is misused in practice, so  
>> why make an exception in this case?
>
> This case may be worth an exception, because we have some evidence  
> that this particular attribute is often used wrong, and HTML5  
> offers new alternatives. Thus, highly visible guidance to authors  
> could help. Is your concern about the label as a "warning", or  
> about having advisory guidance in the validator at all?

No warning is necessary because the summary attribute is valid
and conforming HTML mark-up that should be used when appropriate
by those authors with sufficient motivation and skill to make
it useful.  Those authors do exist.

The opinion that summary is not usefully distinct from all other
forms of caption mark-up has been proven wrong.  Do you disagree?
If so, then refute my argument.  If not, then there is no need to
find a compromise of opinions and Ian should fix the offending text
before it is published as a WD.

Otherwise, please stop telling folks that HTML5 design decisions
are being made by reasoned argument.  The argument I supplied
demonstrates that @summary is useful, not satisfied by other
HTML5 features, and is the only solution that is compatible
with deployed user agents.

....Roy
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 21:38:15 UTC

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