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

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

From: <jgraham@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 08:38:19 +0000
Message-ID: <20090610083819.pplwdnj9wc0wgcw0@staff.opera.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Cc: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Quoting Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>:

> What do you think of the summary element, as long term solution, that
> Laura has pointed out to several folks? Other than she didn't use
> bullets?

As a child of <table> <summary> (or any other element) has too bad  
legacy compatibility properties to work.

As a child of <caption> or used with <figure><legend> <summary> seems  
rather similar to <caption><details> except:

It is somewhat less clear to me how it would work. What would a  
graphical UA display when the summary is not open, for example?

It duplicates, almost exactly, an existing piece of functionality in  
the language draft (i.e. <details>). I think there are strong  
advantages to having as few ways as possible to achieve the same  
thing; it is easier for authors because they have to learn fewer  
things to understand HTML, it is easier for implementers because they  
don't have to implement multiple similar things. The combination of  
these two factors is a net win for users because it is less likely  
that a situation arises where authors A and B use solution 1 that  
works in browser X whilst author C uses solution 2 that works in  
browsers X and Z and authors D, E, F and G do nothing because they  
can't find a cross-browser solution.

The name is good for people with experience of writing HTML 4  
documents using @summary but seems confusing to everyone else; the  
english word "summary" is the opposite of "extended description" yet  
that is its supposed usecase. It seems more reasonable to use  
<summary> in place of <legend> in <details> (everywhere, no just in  
table captions) so that the meaning of the element matches its english  
meaning.

It has fewer legacy parsing problems than things like <details> that,  
as drafted, depend on the <legend> element.

The last issue for <details> could be solved by using <summary> to  
mean "short summary" and changing <details> to have the content model  
"one summary element, followed by flow content". This would give  
<summary> the opposite meaning to the one currently proposed but given  
the evidence that authors have mostly failed to understand how  
@summary is supposed to be used, it may be a change for the better.
Received on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 08:39:06 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Monday, 29 September 2014 09:39:04 UTC