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Subject: Re: [office] merging nested tables with surrounding table

The request from the accessibility SC is based on the finding, that 
nested tables are hard to use with A11Y tools. Such tools only provide a 
limited navigational context.

The specification allows for both, nested tables and row/colspans. In 
the case of a nested table, the specification also provides the 
is-subtable attribute, which merges the nested table with the 
surrounding cell.

This means, that implementors of editors currently have a choice of what 
kind of structure they generate when implementing a function like "split 
this cell" or "merge these two cells".

I think the request of the A11Y SC is mainly about providing guidance to 
implementors to prefer the use of col/rowspan for such functions. If 
subtables are preferred, the resulting documents are harder to use in an 
A11Y context.

So what I would propose for the specification is to state in the 
description of is-subtable, that using nested table structures may be 
problematic for non-visual renditions of the documents. Henceforth, 
col/rowspan should be used whenever appropriate to make the resulting 
document more accessible.


Andreas J. Guelzow wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-27-06 at 17:13 +0200, Thomas Zander wrote:
>> On Wednesday 27 June 2007 16:48:37 Andreas J Guelzow wrote:
>>> See above example. Failure to provide such support would complicate the
>>> description of that table.
>> To be sure we are talking about the same thing; the example you gave is 
>> naturally still possible using subtables.  I have not seen any suggestion 
>> to remove that feature.
> I understand the initial request of the accessibility sc to suggest
> exactly that. At least the argument made are applicable to any kind of
> subtable.
> Andreas

Sun Microsystems                Lars Oppermann <lars.oppermann@sun.com>
Nagelsweg 55                    Software Engineer
20097 Hamburg, Germany          Phone: +49 40 23646 959
http://www.sun.com/             Fax:   +49 40 23646 550
Sitz der Gesellschaft: Sun Microsystems GmbH, Sonnenallee 1,
D-85551 Kirchheim-Heimstetten, Amtsgericht Muenchen: HRB 161028
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Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrates: Martin Haering

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