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[Bug 14107] New: Non-conformance of the summary attribute for the table element makes WCAG 1.0 compliance impossible

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2011 15:45:05 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-14107-2486@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Non-conformance of the summary attribute for the table
                    element makes WCAG 1.0 compliance impossible
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 differences from HTML4 (editor: Anne van
        AssignedTo: simonp@opera.com
        ReportedBy: theimp@iinet.net.au
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org, annevk@opera.com

The summary attribute for the table element has become non-conforming, but
should be obsolete but conforming, because:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Guideline 5.5 ("Provide summaries for
tables") requires that summaries are provided for tables, and for "HTML", that
means the summary attribute.

Furthermore, WCAG 1.0 Guideline 11.1 ("Use W3C technologies when they are
available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when
supported") requires that the latest versions of W3C technologies, including
HTML, be used. So, once HTML5 is standardized, it will have to be used. (There
might be some wiggle room on the "appropriate for a task" and "when supported"
qualifiers; but I imagine that you wouldn't want people to recommend against
HTML5 usage specifically due to this reason).

The summary attribute can't just be used in violation of the specification,
because that would violate WCAG 1.0 Guideline 3.2 ("Create documents that
validate to published formal grammars"). Custom Doctypes and similar solutions
are likewise stymied.

While people should meet WCAG 2.0 rather than WCAG 1.0, there is currently
significant legislative requirement around the world to use WCAG 1.0, which has
not been updated.

Is there any special reason to retire the attribute? Most major browsers ignore
it right now; is there a compatibility issue? It seems safer to keep it.

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Received on Sunday, 11 September 2011 15:45:07 UTC

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