Re: Draft text for summary attribute definition

2009/3/1 Leif Halvard Silli <>:
>> 1: The summary attribute isn't a property of the caption element, but a
>> property of the table itself (its purpose is to describe how to read the
>> table, not how to read the caption).
> Could it become a real problem that authors would  think that
> caption@summary is describing how to read the <caption>?

Yes, it would be a problem. The summary attribute is a property of the
table, and in no way related to the caption element. All it would do
is add confusion to something that already seems confused. I don't see
the point in making it more confusing.

> It is exactly because authors needs to understand the difference between
> titling and summarizing that they need to be close.

Relating unrelated concepts does not aid understanding.

>> 2: There isn't a strong relationship between the caption element and the
>> summary attribute; the caption element isn't required, but that doesn't
>>  mean a summary shouldn't be provided.
> Both <caption> and @summary are optional. So why not keep the optional meta
> info in the same element?

Because making the summary attribute dependent on the caption element
reduces opportunities where the summary attribute can be used - if a
caption isn't provided, it's impossible to provide a summary with this
proposal (unless you provide an empty caption element, but the caption
element shouldn't be empty if it's provided). As the summary attribute
is no way dependent on a caption, serves a completely different
purpose, and is a valuable accessibility attribute, it doesn't make
sense to reduce the opportunities to provide a summary attribute.

> In my proposal, caption will be needed to provide a summary, (as long as you
> want to write undeprecated code). <caption> itself can be empty though. As
> long as <caption> is emtpy, it will not caption any attention in visual user
> agents.

An empty caption element is an ugly hack just to make the summary
attribute dependent on the caption element.

> The only drawback I see here is that it will require more to add the
> @summary since one needs to add the emtpy caption element first.

The fact the summary attribute is in no way related to the caption
element is also a drawback.

Supplement your vitamins

Received on Sunday, 1 March 2009 10:20:15 UTC