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Re: Change proposal to replace @summary with <details>

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 20:49:36 -0800
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-id: <0A2A2CDF-E7D4-4BA7-B234-91D9C759495E@apple.com>
To: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>

Hi Cynthia,

On Feb 16, 2010, at 8:31 AM, Cynthia Shelly wrote:

> This is my change proposal for replacing summary with details, as we  
> discussed on last week's call.  Please put this on the agenda for  
> Thursday.
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Details_element_as_a_replacement_for_summary_attribute%2C_Feb_15%2C_2010#References
> <tableexamples2.html>

This is really intriguing to me, because I think the idea to recommend  
<details> as a replacement for @summary has the potential to get a lot  
of support from the full Working Group.

I do have one concern with my co-chair hat on, thinking about how  
we'll handle this proposal in the full Working Group. This proposal  
suggests to "Replace the <summary> child element of <details> with a  
<button>. I would advise against including this change.

The proper elements to use for the captions of the <details> and  
<figure> elements were subject to much discussion and controversy,  
culminating in ISSUE-83, which drew a number of Change Proposals: <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/83 
 >. In the end, ISSUE-83 was resolved by amicable resolution. The  
amicable resolution was to adopt the <summary> and <figcaption>  
elements respectively for <detail> and <figures>. The Call for  
Consensus on this amicable resolution closed on February 11, with no  
objections: <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Feb/0344.html 
 >. I note also that in much of the discussion on this topic, a key  
consideration for many was to *not* reuse any existing HTML elements;  
it was strongly preferred to mint new elements.

We can't change the name of the <details> caption yet again without  
reopening ISSUE-83. Per the Decision Policy ISSUE-83 can be reopened  
with permission of the Chairs, and the A11Y TF is free to request that  
permission if the TF feels strongly about this change. However, I have  
two requests:

1) If the A11Y TF wishes to reopen ISSUE-83, then please produce a  
separate Change Proposal just for ISSUE-83. I think it would not be  
good form for a Change Proposal on an open issue to have the side  
effect of reopening a resolved issue. It seems to me that doing things  
that way does not give due notice to the Working Group that the issue  
is being reopened, or a fair chance to review the new proposal in  

2) Please consider the option of dropping <summary>/<button> change  
entirely. I think it would not help the smooth functioning of the  
Working Group for the A11Y TF to ask to reopen closed issues. It took  
a lot of effort to bring ISSUE-83 to a successful conclusion, and I  
would be very hesitant to reopen it, given the risk of damaging our  
hard-won consensus on the topic.

There's probably more purely technical feedback that could be given on  
your Change Proposal, but I wanted to make sure to highlight this  
process issue.

Other than this one small point, I think this Change Proposal is a  
very promising direction.

Received on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 04:50:11 UTC

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