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Re: [csswg-drafts] [css-content] Display contents of data table headers, footers, and captions using ::before and ::after (#5628)

From: Mike Bremford via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2020 12:10:11 +0000
To: public-css-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-715905929-1603541410-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
We have the `target-text()` function to display text from another element based on a URI. So if this were implemented in browsers (hint: it's not, although it's in all the CSS-to-PDF engines), you could refer from each `<td>` to its associated `<th>` by id, then use `target-text()` to display the content:
td::before {
    content: target-text(attr(data-th url));
  <th id="header1">Header Content</th>
  <td data-th="#header1">Cell content</td>
There's even a pre-existing [headers](https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H43.html) attribute that can be set on the `<td>` to reference the associated `<th>` elements. In theory you could use that, except that it's defined as a _list of ids_ for the associated header(s), not a _url_ - i.e. it would be `<td headers="header1">` - there's no '#' prefix. We could perhaps fix that with something like `attr(headers idref)`, which might be a useful addition to `attr()`.

Doing this automatically without an explicit reference would indeed be very complicated - while there is an algorithm for this ([ref](https://html.spec.whatwg.org/multipage/tables.html#header-and-data-cell-semantics)), @fantasai's already made the observation that the whole thing would collapse once you change the display so it's no longer a table.

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