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RE: PF Response: @Summary

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 17:27:05 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Jonas Sicking'" <jonas@sicking.cc>
Cc: "'Laura Carlson'" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'Janina Sajka'" <janina@rednote.net>, "'Sam Ruby'" <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "'Chris Wilson'" <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, "'Michael Cooper'" <cooper@w3.org>, "'Dan Connolly'" <connolly@w3.org>, "'Mike Smith'" <mike@w3.org>, "'W3C WAI Protocols & Formats'" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, "'Gez Lemon'" <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, <wai-liaison@w3.org>, "'www-archive'" <www-archive@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002c01c9e574$7a535b20$6efa1160$@edu>
Jonas Sicking wrote:
> But I will note that I also pointed out the need to gather data. It's
> easy to have an opinion, but we won't know whose opinion is right
> until we get some data.
> @summary has been specified for over 10 years, so there should be
> plenty of data out there to show if it has been a good idea or not.
> Wouldn't you agree?

I do agree that research data is good.  In his response last night, Ian
Hickson suggested that he had evidence, data and research regarding
@summary, which lead to the working group *removing* this existing HTML 4
attribute from HTML5.  I have asked that he share this information amongst
us so that we might all make informed conclusions.  I am waiting to hear
his response.

In the absence of conclusive data however, by what justification should
@summary be removed, given that it has been made available to authors who
desired to use it previously?  

As the PF-WG noted:

*  Summary serves a need, and serves it well.
*  It is familiar to users.
*  It is supported in browsers.
*  It is properly utilized on many web sites which strive to be
*  If it didn't exist, we'd need to invent it. Indeed, such alternative
approaches as have been proposed constitute a "reinvention" of summary.
*  We [accessibility specialists - JF] reject the argument that summary
should be removed from the HTML specification because it is not
implemented on most web sites. The wider web is not an example of good
*  We need summary for backward compatibility.
*  Restoring summary in HTML 5 would not, in our understanding, negatively
impact HTML 5 in any way.

Given all of the above, I am unclear as to what, exactly, the problem is.
(I personally note as well that there is nothing in the specification that
would suggest that adding or not adding @summary data to a web document
would affect its conformance status, so why is there such resistance to

Received on Friday, 5 June 2009 00:27:52 UTC

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