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How did the summary attribute become part of HTML 4.0?

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 10:27:15 +0300
Message-Id: <51E80FA2-5DA5-406D-B841-013074F4D28B@iki.fi>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Like Mark Pilgrim, I tried to find a record of how the summary  
attribute became part of HTML 4.0 but found nothing. (http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/whatwg/20090804#l-190 

The attribute first showed up in public in:

It says: 'Note. A new attribute for the table summary is needed  
because the caption for visual users is generally insufficient. The  
title attribute is inappropriate because browsers render this as a  
"tool tip" which is limited to a single line of text. In some user  
agents, long lines are clipped.' If title attribute clipping is the  
whole reason why the summary attribute exists, it seems like an  
awfully weak reason. It's like all the requests for new CSS features  
because browser X implements an existing CSS feature badly.

Does anyone who was there at the time remember what happened?

Summary wasn't in the previous draft from July 1997:

People with Member access may be interested in inspecting http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Group/9708/WD-html40-970808/struct/tables.html 
  and http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Group/9708/issues.html also.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Friday, 7 August 2009 07:28:01 UTC

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