Re: How did the summary attribute become part of HTML 4.0?

For people who have member access there is more info here and discussion:

these are just a few examples of what appears to be an in depth discussion
of data table accessibility in general and summary in particular

it would appear that much of the discussion went on not on the html list but
on the related wai list.
 Some emails also allude to further telephone discussions around this topic.
I think if you read this material it clearly puts to bed the assertion that
the origin of the summary is due to weak reasoning.


2009/8/7 Henri Sivonen <>

> Like Mark Pilgrim, I tried to find a record of how the summary attribute
> became part of HTML 4.0 but found nothing. (
> The attribute first showed up in public in:
> It says: 'Note. A new attribute for the table summary is needed because the
> caption for visual users is generally insufficient. The title attribute is
> inappropriate because browsers render this as a "tool tip" which is limited
> to a single line of text. In some user agents, long lines are clipped.' If
> title attribute clipping is the whole reason why the summary attribute
> exists, it seems like an awfully weak reason. It's like all the requests for
> new CSS features because browser X implements an existing CSS feature badly.
> Does anyone who was there at the time remember what happened?
> Summary wasn't in the previous draft from July 1997:
> People with Member access may be interested in inspecting
> and
> also.
> --
> Henri Sivonen

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG Europe
Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium |
Web Accessibility Toolbar -

Received on Friday, 7 August 2009 08:38:48 UTC