[whatwg] [web-forms] Add ACCESSKEY to SELECT

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Aug 25 19:15:26 PDT 2004

Derek Featherstone wrote:

>Ian Hickson <mailto:ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>>(And eventually, we'll define what accesskey is supposed to
>>do, in WA1...)
>Any thoughts about deprecating accesskey and creating the access attribute,
>similar to that in the XHTML 2 drafts? It is much more flexible that way --
>or is it too much work for browsers to change the way they work to make it
I don't see the value in the XHTML 2 proposition at all. If the choice 
of accesskeys is entirely left to the user/ua, there is little value in 
the proposed access attribute - I would expect a UA to allow any link or 
focusable element on the page to be assigned a user-defined accesskey. 
The only interesting feature it provides is the ability to assign a 
single accesskey to multiple elements. However, if the user has to go to 
the trouble of setting all the accesskeys manually, they could easilly 
do this themselves. Therefore the only value of the attribute is to 
provide reasonable author defined defaults for the elements that should 
have accesskeys and the groups of elements that should have the same 
accesskey. This can be done in an entirely backward compatible manner 
simply by specifying that the accesskey attribute defines a default key 
that may be changed by the UA (either by user preference or because of a 
conflict with an existing keybinding). A DOM property could be provided 
to obtain the actual accesskey assigned to an element.

 This approach would have the two significant benefits over the XHTML2 
approach; backward compatibility and the option of default accesskeys 
for the (probably frequent) cases where the user doesn't wish to spend 
time setting up the keyboard navigation. With the proviso that the UA is 
not required to respect the author's choice of accesskeys or even 
provide them at all, I think it's a much better solution.

In my opinion, the problems with accesskeys are entirely with the 
implementations (although the HTML 4 spec may be a little limited in 
scope). Having a good implementation of accesskeys doesn't add to 
marketshare so little time is spent producing an innovative solution to 
the problems. Since any spec is unlikely to make people switch browsers 
based on the quality of their accesskey implementation, this situation 
is unlikely to change with either XHTML 2 or Web Forms.
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