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RE: User agent support of SUMMARY attribute in tables

From: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 22:59:55 +0000 (GMT)
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
cc: W3c-Wai-Ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0301222246310.2522-100000@jarl.webthing.com>

On Wed, 22 Jan 2003, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

> On Wed, 22 Jan 2003, Nick Kew wrote:
> > > How does AccessValet know the next time it is checking the site that the
> > > table is "Not applicable"?
> >
> > Why is it re-checking the site?
> Maybe the author changed something? Just a thought. :-)
> > If a page hasn't changed since the last report, then we assume that
> > any existing record is still valid
> What existing record?

The one you saved last time you ran it.  Or the record in the (SQL)
status table if you're running an Enterprise Edition.

If you don't have an existing record, then it's stateless, so of
course it'll report all the same warnings!

> > It's a reporting tool, not a repair tool.
> Understood, but the point is that if I run checks I don't want to answer a
> zillion questions every time.

You don't have to answer any questions.  You look at the messages, and
decide which ones need to be fixed, and which can be safely ignored.
The only reason to record your decisions is to generate an executive
summary report, which thereafter becomes the "existing record" above.

BTW, if you were thinking of the complexity of the current default
view in the online edition, then yes, that's due for a substantial

> Regarding summary, it seems that no consensus can be found.

Regarding usage, yes.  From the tool's point of view, it has to warn
if checking to level AAA.  And that pushes the decision onto the tool
user, while alerting him to the guideline.

> from checkers. And maybe it would be best if the next version or edition
> of WAI guidelines specified this:
> - use a summary attribute to give any information needed for understanding
>   the structure of a table, to the extent that it is not explained
>   otherwise in the document
> - do not use summary attributes for layout tables.

That coexists uneasily with "don't use tables for layout".

> If the guidelines clearly said that layout tables should not have summary
> attributes, or at least said that they are not needed, checkers would have
> less excuse for complaining about every table that lacks summary.

The current guidelines don't say any such thing.  If the guidelines
were different, then checkers would (or should) reflect that.

I have to say this thread has been educational: the idea that
summary="" could be actively harmful in some user agents is news to me,
and demonstrates a minor but unfortunate defect in the browsers.

Nick Kew
Received on Wednesday, 22 January 2003 18:00:00 UTC

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