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

Re: ISSUE-92 Change Proposal

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 22:12:49 -0600
Message-ID: <h2w643cc0271003312112s9dac514fjd3d307c4cbb44227@mail.gmail.com>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 6:10 PM, Laura Carlson
<laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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


Thanks, Laura. I'll incorporate this change.


Shelley

>
> [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 04:13:25 UTC

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