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Subject: Re: [docbook] Tables, braille and other stuff

[continuing your cross-posting; I'm only on docbook@, please CC docbook@ 
or me]

Yann Dirson wrote:

> Basically, in my never-ending attempts to hunt the layout-oriented
> items out of the content-oriented stuff which DocBook is mostly, I've
> choked on tables as well.
> My idea is that the very notion of a table is completely
> layout-oriented.

Nope. Tables are intended to be used for tabular data. (X)HTML tables 
offer features specifically for that task, such as summary="", caption, 
and scope="". Nothing to do with layout (DB(X)/(X)HTML tables would 
still be as useful in this regard if all the presentational (eg layout) 
features would be removed).

> Thus it should only appear in the stylesheets, and
> not in the DTD - note that some DocBook elements can be rendered in
> tables already, that should give a hint.

Using tables for layout is a misuse of (X)HTML, and hinders accessibility.

You can markup tabular data as a table in DB(X) or (X)HTML, then 
generate a linearized version. This shows that a) tables should remain 
in both DTDs :), and b) that a transformers (eg some XSLT) could be 
asked to generate a version of the content marked up with elements that 
are not included in the table model.

> That way, as the remark from
> Dave suggests, we could maybe get better support for disabled people.

Tables are very appropriate for tabular data, in DocBook as in (X)HTML.

Tables used for tabular data can be made very accessible, for example in XHTML.

Tables abused for layout are the problem, in DB(X) as in (X)HTML.

For more info, see the WAI/WCAG.



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