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Re: How did the summary attribute become part of HTML 4.0?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Sat, 08 Aug 2009 16:24:29 +0200
Message-ID: <4A7D8A9D.9090204@malform.no>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
CC: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Murray Maloney On 09-08-08 04.39:

>>> Conclusion: 1) We need a time machine. 2) @summary doesn't 
>>> have the same role to play as it potentially had.
> 
>> 2) I don't see how you reach this conclusion. @summary will 
>> complete its useful life after ARIA is fully supported, 
>> deployed and employed. There is no need to push it onto an
>> ice flow just yet. We can afford to wait until its
>> replacement is actually in place.


Substitute "same role" with "same future". ;-)

Murray Maloney On 09-08-08 06.51:

> At 09:39 PM 8/7/2009 -0500, Murray Maloney wrote:
>> At 02:15 AM 8/8/2009 +0200, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>> 
>>> [...] So, might it be that table@summary was meant to be
>>> presented to AT users /before/ the entire table had been
>>> rendered?  If so, then this might also explain why some
>>> @summary texts perhaps are more wordy than we today
>>> consider kosher: In such a scenario it would perhaps not
>>> matter if the summary repeated bits of what the user later
>>> would read inside a caption. (For instance, perhaps the
>>> user would use the @summary info to simply skip
>>> reading/loading the table?)
>> 
>> Exactly. The reader gets to the table and pauses.
>> 
>> My understanding at the time was the user could proceed apace
>> or ask for the table title and summary, then possibly look
>> ahead to the caption and legend, before deciding whether to
>> simply skip over the table or proceed. Developers at the time
>> felt that having @summary on <TABLE allowed for a breakpoint
>> to be set, facilitating skipping over the table and saving
>> cycles in the process.
> 
> I just realized that I left out an important part... some of
> the people involved at the time had experience with Braille
> publishing and with Braille readers, and others had been 
> involved with ICADD. They were unanimous in expressing the need
> for pausing at a table to survey the terrain before proceeding,
> lest they enter a rat's nest of incomprehensible data. 
> Breakpoint set, they could examine the table element for
> in-attribute information and related links to long
> descriptions, and present available information to the user to
> help them make a decision about how to proceed. Of course, ARIA
> attributes will provide a better solution in time.


Cool to hear how @summary was compatible with "the Web" of around 
1997.
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Saturday, 8 August 2009 14:25:18 UTC

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