[whatwg] several messages about tables and related subjects

Kristof Zelechovski giecrilj at stegny.2a.pl
Thu Aug 21 07:10:37 PDT 2008

The advantage of having an attribute referring to the current column of
every table element is that it is easier to check that the right data are
the right column.  Columns are filled sequentially but the exact position in
the sequence is accidental and meaningless in most cases.  I tend to put the
column keyword into the title attribute; this allows me to verify that the
keywords are in the right order.  This is verbose but it greatly improves
source code readability.  I think the abbr attribute could be used for this
purpose as well (repeated on every cell).
What do you think?

-----Original Message-----
From: whatwg-bounces at lists.whatwg.org
[mailto:whatwg-bounces at lists.whatwg.org] On Behalf Of Ian Hickson
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2008 11:16 AM
To: Tab Atkins Jr.
Cc: whatwg List
Subject: Re: [whatwg] several messages about tables and related subjects

On Mon, 24 Mar 2008, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>  >> TH and TD
> >> * abbr (I think that's supported by screen readers, but need to verify)
> >
> >I don't really see that these attributes actually help anyone.
> I don't have a screen reader to verify, but afaik abbr= is used to provide
> shortened form of the header when it is spoken aloud repeatedly.  Leaving
> out won't *hurt* anything, but the annoyance of hearing a large bit of
> header repeated over and over again when the table is complex enough to
> *need* a regular reminder would be enough, I think, for abbr= to be
> considered to help people.
> I use abbr= to this effect in my own tables.

I understand the intent, but wouldn't it be better for the user agent to 
automatically abbreviate the table headers, for example by only saying the 
first few syllables of the first bit of unique text in the relevant 
headers once it has been said several times?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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