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Re: Summary of Thursday's IRC conversation about @summary

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 18:00:41 -0700
Message-ID: <63df84f0906051800hb3bc0f3w2bbd12fc45ddbe65@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Cc: David Singer <singer@apple.com>, public-html@w3.org
On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 4:58 PM, John Foliot<jfoliot@stanford.edu> wrote:
> Jonas Sicking wrote
>>
>> Indeed. When something out of HTML4 hasn't accumulated use over the
>> past decade that HTML4 has been deployed, I think not looking for a
>> "why" and "do we need to change something" is to close your eyes to
>> reality.
>
> And indeed, that question has been asked.  However, is it the failure of
> the attribute, or the apathy and lack of education inside the 'industry'
> that exists today (earlier in this thread others have had to explain the
> difference between a summary and caption)?  If you cannot grok the
> difference between the two, is it a failure of the attributes/elements or
> a failure of developer comprehension?

I firmly believe that developers are who they are. We cannot make them
smarter, or restrict HTML creation to only smart people.

So *if* editors have failed to comprehend what we have given them, it
is IMHO a failure on our part.

> At what point must we stop holding
> the hands of professionals and demand that they understand what it is they
> are dealing with and working with?

IMHO never. If a feature that we've developed is being improperly used
after years of adoption, we have to change something.

Someone brought up that <table>s are currently very improperly used.
Instead of simply giving up there, or simply shouting louder at people
to stop using tables improperly, we are in fact trying to change the
specs. The CSS WG has recognized that CSS is currently capable of
doing what people want, which has forced people into hacks such as
using tables. They have because of this added support for multicolumn
layout, and as I understand it will soon start work on standardizing
the box model that XUL uses, which is a better alternative for people
that today use table layout.

>> I do hope that the people advocating @summary has looked into these
>> questions and come to the conclusion that @summary can not be
>> improved.
>
> Those that advocate it's continued inclusion have not reached the same
> conclusion as you apparently have - we don't think @summary is broken,
> simply under-used and likely mis-understood.

If we in over a decade haven't been able to get people to use and
understand @summary, then IMHO something is wrong with the spec. Or is
there some reason to believe that we'll be more successful in the next
decade to get people to use and understand @summary correctly?

However since I haven't looked at any data, I don't know if @summary
is under-used or mis-understood.

/ Jonas

/ Jonas
Received on Saturday, 6 June 2009 01:01:32 GMT

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