Re: [PHP] Re: -less layouts; Ideas welcome

Thu, 21 May 2009 11:16:27 -0700

On 21/5/09 18:48, Weston C wrote:
I almost just wish
we'd accepted the horse was out of the barn and tried to figure out an
easy way to signal distinctions between layout tables and semantic
tabular data, rather than trying to get the entire internet to
completely retool.

One year after HTML 4.0 recommended stylesheets over table layouts, WCAG 1.0 (published in 1999) explained how /authors/ could distinguish between layout tables and data tables:

1) When writing a presentational table, stick to the elements "table", "tr", "td". Do not use the "headers", "scope", "axis", or "summary" attributes. Make sure layout tables make sense when linearized.

2) When writing a data table, add the elements "th", "thead", "tbody", "tfoot", "caption", and "col" and the attributes "headers", "scope", "axis", and "summary" wherever appropriate.

No algorithm for guessing whether a table matching the first class (but which could have been authored before WCAG 1.0 or in ignorance of WCAG 1.0) is a layout or data table has ever been specified, as far as I know. You are entirely correct that text browsers and screen readers do indeed use such algorithms, however. This is why it's more crucial to use data table markup for data tables than to avoid presentational table markup for grid layout.

Fast forward a decade, and authors are getting another tool in our toolbox, not a million miles away from your 'class="layout"'. I don't think it's very well specified yet, but:

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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