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Re: PF Response: @Summary

From: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 13:03:02 -0400
Message-ID: <fb6fbf560907061003g317c41b1u43e5e4e2a809bdca@mail.gmail.com>
To: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
Cc: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, "W3C WAI Protocols & Formats" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "wai-liaison@w3.org" <wai-liaison@w3.org>, John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, HTML WG Public List <public-html@w3.org>
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 5:25 AM, Joshue O Connor<joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie> wrote:

>> What information should the summary contain that should *not* be in
>> the headers or the caption?

> The @summary should provide an overview of the relationships between
> headers and data cells in complex tables. This would vary on a case by
> case basis.

I feel like a fifth-grader endlessly repeating "I don't get it.",
which is frustrating to the teacher as well.

But I don't get it.  Could you provide some more examples of specific
tables and an appropriate summary?

I'm aware of the example from
but I couldn't make any more sense of it than Smylers could.  (My best
guess is included below.)

    <table summary="This table presents traveling
      expenses. Rows contain destinations, traveling
      dates, and grand total. Columns contain expense
      category and total. The first column contains
      merged table cells.">

I would naively assume that "This table presents traveling expenses."
should be replaced by:

    <caption>Traveling Expenses</caption>

I would also assume that:

     "Rows contain destinations, traveling dates,
     and grand total. Columns contain expense
     category and total."

means there should be and column (or colgroup) headers which are
synonyms of destination, travel date, grand total, expense category,
and total.

(1)  Am I totally offbase?  Because that doesn't make sense of the
division into "rows contain" and "columns" contain.

(2)  If those headers do exist, is there a reason to repeat them?

(3)  Are there many tables in the wild where the author was careful
enough to include a useful summary, but did *not* include useful
header cells?

(4)  Are there headers which were intentionally excluded from the
summary for some reason?

(5)  I'm not sure what the point of mentioning merged cells is,
without saying why they are merged.  How would I decide this when
writing my own summaries?

My best guess at such a table:

  <th rowspan=2>Destination</th>
  <th rowspan=2>date</th>
  <th rowspan=3>Expense Category</th>
  <th rowspan=2>Total</th>

  <!-- merging rows for the same trip? -->
  <td rowspan=3>Chicago</td>
  <td> </td>
  <td> </td>
  <td>43 </td>
  <td> </td>
  <td>70 </td>
  <td> </td>


>> Would the @summary purpose be better fulfilled by just ensuring that
>> it was easy to read the headers as a sort a preview?
> @summary should be used where tabular data relationships are unusual
> (nested headers, data spanning multiple rows in a non uniform way etc.

Does my example table meet that definition?

If so, is it still one that ought to be summarized by hand, or would
an automatic summary be better?

Received on Monday, 6 July 2009 17:04:07 UTC

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