W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2010

Re: ISSUE-92 Change Proposal

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 18:10:06 -0600
Message-ID: <p2l1c8dbcaa1003311710j96a1bdadu8dafdfdfa7a5b7c8@mail.gmail.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Hi Shelley,

It is good to see the summary attribute restored in your change
proposal to clean up tables [1] for HTML ISSUE 92 [2]. Thank you.

Something that is missing in this proposal is the table headers
attribute [3] that had been restored in Issue 20. [4]

Please consider adding it. History of the @headers issue is detailed
in the Wiki. [5] [6]

Thanks.

Best Regards,
Laura

[1] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/cleanuptable
[2] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/92
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/tabular-data.html#attr-tdth-headers
[4] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/20
[5] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/IssueTableHeaders
[6] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/index.php?title=Category:TableHeaders

On 3/31/10, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com> wrote:
> Summary
>
>  Summary: Replace too-simple and somewhat odd example table and
> verbose text unrelated to the table element, with one example table,
> derived from real world data that best demonstrates the table element.
> Refocus the text specifically on the table element.
>
> Rationale
>
> In the bug[1] related to this issue, the HTML5 Editor's rationale for
> not make this change was:
>
>
>     Rationale: Given how bad the current situation is regarding
> authors providing
>     explanatory text for tables, I think we should given them as much
> information
>     as possible, in as many places as possible. We do AT users a
> disservice if we
>     pretend that their needs aren't important enough to include advice on
> how to
>     best serve them in the spec.
>
> The current table element section provides one very small and
> inadequate table example, with a great deal of prose basically telling
> people what to put in text surrounding the table. None of this prose
> is related to the purpose and interoperable use of the table or its
> child elements, and seemingly added to the section only as a way of
> justifying removing the summary attribute. I hate to use cliches, but
> this seems like a true case of the tail wagging the dog.
>
> Throwing lots of irrelevant text at authors does not make the table
> element any clearer, or ensure they use the element in the proper way.
> What's needed is a good, succinct example, with a clear explanation of
> the element, and the table's only unique attribute, summary.
>
> What people incorporate into the text surrounding an HTML table _is
> not the business of the W3C HTML Working Group_. Such
> over-specification only adds to the noise, and if you throw enough
> noise at people, all they'll do is tune out the important bits.
>
> The space would be better used by providing a table listing that uses
> all of the table child elements, demonstrating how the elements work
> together, and then providing a screenshot of the table. By creating a
> listing, people can see how the table is put together; the figure
> demonstrates the visual rendering of the table.
>
> In addition, we shouldn't belabor what is already a well known
> restriction on tables: don't use them for layout. Say it once, say it
> succinctly, and then move on. Don't continue to 'pick' at the spec
> reader.
>
> Details
>
> Replace the existing table element description section with the
> following (replace the URL for the img element in the figure with one
> local to the W3C, image can be copied, add appropriate cross-reference
> links):
>
> The table element represents data with more than one dimension,
> organized into non-empty columns and rows. It is the primary component
> of the table model.
>
> Tables are used for data display, only, and should not be used for
> layout purposes. In particular, users of accessibility tools like
> screen readers are likely to find it difficult to navigate pages with
> tables used for layout.
>
> The only unique attribute for the table element is the summary
> attribute. This attribute is optional, and should only be used with
> complex tables, in order to provide a visual description of the
> structure of the table—making the table easier to navigate when
> rendered non-visually. The summary may also include a brief
> description of the purpose of the table, if such purpose is visually
> apparent when viewing the entire table, but may not be apparent
> traversing the table, cell by cell. An example of a complex table,
> contained within a web page and with CSS styling, is shown in Listing
> Table-1. Figure Table-1 is a visual rendering of the table.
>
>
> <!DOCTYPE html>
> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
> <head>
> <title>Example Table</title>
> <style>
> table
> {
>   border: 1px solid #ccc;
>   border-collapse: collapse;
>   margin: 0 20px;
> }
>
> td, th
> {
>   border: 1px solid #ccc;
>   padding: 10px;
> }
>
> .female
> {
>   background-color: #ffc;
> }
>
> tfoot
> {
>   font-size: smaller;
> }
> </style>
> </head>
> <body>
> <table summary="First row is column headers separated into year and
> degree programs
>                 (bachelor, master, graduate). Each degree program is
> further split into
>                 biology and technology fields on second line. Each
> topic field is separated into
>                 male and female graduates on third row. Years are
> listed in first column.">
>
>    <caption>
>       <p>Degrees in the biological and biomedical sciences compared
> with degrees
>          in technology conferred by degree-granting institutions, by level
> of
>          degree and sex of student: Selected years, 2002-2007.
>       </p>
>
>    </caption>
>
>    <colgroup span="1"></colgroup>
>    <colgroup>
>       <col class="male" />
>       <col class="female" />
>    </colgroup>
>    <colgroup>
>       <col class="male" />
>
>       <col class="female" />
>    </colgroup>
>    <colgroup>
>       <col class="male" />
>       <col class="female" />
>    </colgroup>
>    <colgroup>
>       <col class="male" />
>       <col class="female" />
>
>    </colgroup>
>    <colgroup>
>       <col class="male" />
>       <col class="female" />
>    </colgroup>
>    <colgroup>
>       <col class="male" />
>       <col class="female" />
>    </colgroup>
>
>    <thead>
>       <tr>
>          <th rowspan="3">Year</th><th colspan="4">Bachelor's Degrees</th>
>          <th colspan="4">Master's Degrees</th>
>          <th colspan="4">Doctor's Degrees</th>
>       </tr>
>
>       <tr>
>          <th colspan="2">Biology</th><th colspan="2">Technology</th>
>          <th colspan="2">Biology</th><th colspan="2">Technology</th>
>          <th colspan="2">Biology</th><th colspan="2">Technology</th></tr>
>       <tr>
>
> <th>Male</th><th>Female</th><th>Male</th><th>Female</th><th>Male</th><th>Female</th>
>
>
> <th>Male</th><th>Female</th><th>Male</th><th>Female</th><th>Male</th><th>Female</th>
>       </tr>
>    </thead>
>    <tbody>
>       <tr>
>
> <td>2002</td><td>22,918</td><td>37,186</td><td>41,950</td><td>15,483</td>
>
>
> <td>2,981</td><td>4,009</td><td>13,267</td><td>6,242</td>
>                     <td>2,804</td><td>2,289</td><td>648</td><td>168</td>
>       </tr>
>       <tr>
>
> <td>2003</td><td>23,248</td><td>38,261</td><td>44,585</td><td>14,903</td>
>
>
> <td>3,227</td><td>4,430</td><td>13,868</td><td>6,275</td>
>                      <td>2,804</td><td>2,438</td><td>709</td><td>200</td>
>       </tr>
>       <tr>
>
> <td>2004</td><td>24,617</td><td>39,994</td><td>42,125</td><td>11,986</td>
>
>
> <td>3,318</td><td>4,881</td><td>13,136</td><td>5,280</td>
>                     <td>2,845</td><td>2,733</td><td>905</td><td>214</td>
>       </tr>
>       <tr>
>
> <td>2005</td><td>26,651</td><td>42,527</td><td>37,705</td><td>9,775</td>
>
>
> <td>3,654</td><td>5,027</td><td>12,470</td><td>4,585</td>
>                     <td>2,933</td><td>2,842</td><td>1,109</td><td>307</td>
>       </tr>
>       <tr>
>
> <td>2006</td><td>29,951</td><td>45,200</td><td>34,342</td><td>7,828</td>
>
>
> <td>3,568</td><td>5,179</td><td>11,985</td><td>4,247</td>
>                     <td>3,221</td><td>3,133</td><td>1,267</td><td>328</td>
>       </tr>
>    </tbody>
>
>    <tfoot>
>
>       <tr>
>          <td colspan="13">Data from Institution of Education Sciences
> National Center
>                 for Education Statistics, derived from two tables:
>                 <a
> href="http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d08/tables/dt08_298.asp">
>                 Table  298. Degrees in the biological and biomedical
> sciences conferred by degree-granting
>                 institutions, by level of degree and sex of students;
> selected years, 1951-52 through 2006-07
>                 </a> and <a
> href="http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d08/tables/dt08_302.asp">
>                 Table 302. Degrees in compueter and information
> sciences conferred by degree-granting
>                  institutions, by level of degree and sex of student:
> 1970–71 through
>                  2006–07</a></td>
>       </tr>
>    </tfoot>
> </table>
> </body>
> </html>
>
>
>
> (image can be found at http://burningbird.net/images/table.jpg)
>
> Screenshot of Example complex table contained in Listing Table-1
>
>
> Other changes:
>
> For each of the table element children in the listing—tr, th, col,
> colgroup, caption, tbody, thead, tfoot—reference the existing example
> in Listing Table-1, and remove any other example table. One example
> should be sufficient to demonstrate all of the table model elements.
>
> Though this is more related to Issue 32, it's still relevant: remove
> the warning about the summary attribute, and remove the attribute from
> the "obsolete but conforming" section. We've beat this horse so much
> that it's practically glue. Time to open the gates and let it loose.
> Time to move on to other things.
>
> Impact
>
> Positive Effects
>
> Replaces an unbelievable table example, with one that is believable,
> using real data. In the spec, we should avoid contrived and made up
> examples, as much as possible, as they can undermine the credibility
> of the section, and distract from element(s) being demonstrated.
>
> The change also clarifies the section and puts the focus back on the
> table element, rather than anything but. The example also demonstrates
> how to use all of the table elements, as well as making a correct use
> of the summary attribute. Linking all of the table child elements back
> to the table element section and the listing allows people to see how
> these elements are used, especially in context.
>
> Negative Effects
>
> Will take some of the editor's time to make this change. The use of
> labels such as Listing Table-1 and Figure Table-1 may not fit it
> within the writing style of the rest of the specification (adjust as
> necessary). The listing is also a little large, though as a
> demonstration of a family of elements, not overly so.
>
> References
>
>
> [1] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=8449
>
>
> -------------
>
> Shelley Powers
> http://realtech.burningbird.net
>
>


-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Thursday, 1 April 2010 00:10:38 UTC

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