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Re: "Pave The Cowpaths" Design Principle

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2007 18:57:35 +0100
Message-ID: <4646000F.20707@splintered.co.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

Lachlan Hunt wrote:

> I don't think omitting headers attributes should be considered an error. 
>  There should be a well defined algorithm that covers the vast majority 
> of cases reliably without explicit association.

Fine, whatever.

>> However, if id/headers etc are detected, do NOT attempt to override 
>> them via heuristics, as this is what some AT currently does and it 
>> completely undermines any effort by conscientious authors.
> Assuming the headers attributes refer to ids of cells within the table, 
> that's fine.  But the algorithm should handle references to bogus ids or 
> ids that aren't cells within the same table.

Then that falls under repair/error correction.

> It would be really helpful if some real world example tables, which 
> either already use, or would benefit from the use of, headers 
> attributes, could be presented as evidence to support your case.  We can 
> then evaluate whether or not headers attributes really are needed, or if 
> those cases could be handled with a better algorithm.

Because there are infinite variations of complex tables, I think no 
algorithm CAN be constructed that copes with all cases. I'd throw this 
back at you and say: can you provide evidence of an algorithm that can 
handle all possible cases of complex tables? Even if I gather 100 
complex tables, and you could suggest an algorithm to handle those, you 
can rest assured that there will be the 101st case that breaks the mold.

> I have one example that I built early last year for a project I was 
> working on.  Although I don't believe the site ever actually launched (I 
> think they went out of business or something), I've published an example 
> of one of the tables.
> http://lachy.id.au/dev/2007/table-headers

Not seen that sort of thing in the wild (as even to a sighted user this 
isn't immediately obvious), but yes that could be one case.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
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Received on Saturday, 12 May 2007 17:57:46 UTC

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