[whatwg] Answering the question... (timing of table headers issue)

Dan Connolly connolly at w3.org
Thu Aug 23 11:04:10 PDT 2007

On Thu, 2007-08-23 at 10:40 -0700, John Foliot wrote:
> [...] Despite protracted discussion (argument?) and a
> formal submission from the WAI PF regarding the requirement of headers for
> complicated tables on June 6, 2007
> [http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Jun/0145.html], the
> "official" word from  Ian Hickson is that they've "not yet looked at them".
> What more needs to be looked at?  Our community provided research, rationale
> and worked within the system (and the system's rules) in response to this
> issue, yet it is still deemed open or unresolved.  It is *exactly* this kind
> of response/reaction that many such as myself are frustrated with.  This
> issue should be resolved - now.

I sympathize with your frustration, but I ask that you remain

I am in regular communication with Al Gilman about that June 6 message.
He understands that it may be some weeks/months before the HTML WG
has a considered response. (I think I just missed you yesterday, Al.)

The current priorities of this group,
as noted in the "Current Events" section of
our homepage http://www.w3.org/html/wg/#current

 1. design principles
 2. initial reviews of the HTML 5 spec

These initial reviews are breadth-first; the goal is to raise
issues and awareness, but not to fully address all the issues
that come up, just yet.

I tried putting something else ahead of design principles,
namely a "differences between HTML 4 and HTML 5" document,
but there were formal objections that appealed to the
"What should the HTML WG publish first?" survey
which put the design principles ahead of the
spec, 34 to 25.

The back-log of comments on HTML specs goes back a lot
further than June of this year. In May, the editors
asked for a few months to deal with a backlog of
a few years of WHATWG feedback. It has now been a few
months, and I'm starting to re-negotiate priorities
with the editors.

But keep in mind that we have, so far, made *no* design
decisions. We haven't decided that HTML 5 will have a p element.
Before we address subtle issues like the table headers issue,
first we should deal with the fact that we're about 3
months overdue for releasing anything on http://www.w3.org/TR/
for community review by finishing the current round of discussion
on design principles. Then I think we should tackle a few
no-brainer technical issues just to get a feel for the process.
And then we'll decide about table headers and that sort of thing.

I appreciate the testing and research that is going on meanwhile.
That's an essential part of quality design decision-making.

I recommend teleconferences as a good way to get a feel for
group priorities and schedule. For example, we talked
about the timing of this table headers issue last week.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/

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