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Re: Notes on how to read tables with Emacspeak 8.0 and W3 4.0 beta



It is surprising how a brief informative note can lead to a broader
discussion of this nature, and within less than a single day!

In essence, my opinion is that the handling of tables by Emacspeak and W3
is far superior to the approach taken by screen readers which simply read
straight across each line as it is displayed, in total disregard of the
columnar layout, not to mention the semantic relationships expressed by
the table. With the Emacspeak/W3 combination, it is possible to browse
tables interactively, with a straightforward interface.

The next step would be to handle nested tables and poorly designed table
structures of the kind generated by WYSIWYG editors, to implement the
SUMMARY, HEADERS, AXIS and SCOPE attributes introduced in HTML 4.0, and
the CSS 2 style properties that control whether or not the row and/or
column headers are read as the table cells are announced. Emacspeak
already implements most of the aural extensions to CSS (Cascading Style
Sheets), a claim which no commercial screen reader developer can make.
This places Emacspeak well ahead of the alternatives, a great achievement
for a freely distributable software package that has been developed and
supported on an entirely voluntary basis.


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