[whatwg] Re: several messages

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Jul 1 06:25:17 PDT 2004

On Thu, 1 Jul 2004, Matthew Raymond wrote:
>> I prefer <datalist> to <cl> because I generally don't like short names,
>> especially for things that won't be used as much as <p>.
> Understood, thought I think I'd prefer the name <optlist> if we're going
> to have longer names.

Bad choice of words. I didn't mean short names, I meant abbreviated names.
I have nothing against short names, the shorter the better. I just don't
like tag names that are abbreviated english.

Also, "optlist" seems like it would get confused with "optgroup".

> I've been thinking about this. I was wondering if we couldn't
> introduce elements specifically for handling legacy materials:
>     <legacy value="Web Forms 2.0">
>       <!-- Put your non-WF2 markup here. -->
>     </legacy>
> The <legacy> element would be used to hide content that does not
> apply to the browser that supports the standard listed in the |value|
> attribute. Similarly, we could have an element that does the opposite:
>     <specific value="Web Forms 2.0">
>       <!-- Put your WF2-only markup here. -->
>     </specific>
> This second element obviously wouldn't work of non-WF2 clients, but
> it could be used for all clients that implement standards on top of Web
> Forms 2.0.

Yeah, I was thinking about this this the other day. I even went as far as
doing some in depth research on this, looking at how other languages have
dealt with the problem.

SVG have this in their "requiredFeatures" attribute:


The problem is coming up with what should go in the attribute. Just "WF2"
doesn't work, since no UA is going to instantly implement all of WF2, so
you really want to know if they implement this particular bit. For
example, the repetition model. Except they might not do all the repetiiton
model, they might just do the bits other than move-up and move-down. So
you need to know each bit individually. And if you do that, you end up
with a list of feature strings at least as long as SVG's:


As admirably demonstrated by the equivalent feature in DOM, though, UAs
are incredibly bad at correctly reporting this sort of information. Ask a
UA if it supports DOM2 Events and the answer is more likely to depend on
the memory of the engineer ("oops, i forgot to enable the feature string
now that i've implemented the feature"), and the power play between
marketting and QA ("we must claim to support this feature to get
customers!" vs "our support for this feature is godawful, we cannot claim
to support it!").

If you are familiar with CSS, then ask yourself this: would IE6 claim to
implement the CSS1 box model? Would Opera 7 claim to support CSS2 Quotes?
Would Mozilla claim to support CSS2 Generated Content? How about the
"margin" property, is there any UA you would say should claim support?

> Your model supports calling the list from a <select> within a template?

Sure, why not? It just does a getElementById() on the value of the "list"
attribute, then does a getElementsByTagName() to get all the <option>
children of that element. It doesn't matter where the element is.

> > I do not think that an autocomplete list and a context menu have any more
> > in common than an <ol> and a <select>.
> >
> > Menus have to allow for nesting, for radio selections, check marks, icons,
> > status bar hints, onclick events, can be disabled, can be the default, can
> > have separators, can be linked to toolbar buttons, etc.
> Okay, you just described the menu features in XUL

No, I described the menu features of any modern GUI platform. Mac OS X,
Longhorn, GTK2, Windows XP, etc, they all have these features.

> and yet you have repeatedly stated that you don't know if the XUL markup
> is the best way to represent this.

By which I mean exactly that -- I don't know. I haven't yet looked at the
context menu requirements with an eye to write up the spec. I have no idea
if the XUL markup is appropriate or not. Maybe it is perfect. Maybe it is
almost perfect but needs a few tweaks. Maybe it uses terrible attribute
names and terrible content models and the whole thing should be scrapped
and a new model written instead.

> I was generally hoping we could get a model for prepopulating a number
> of different structures. This might be useful when used in conjunction
> with the repetition model...

Could you explain how? I'm not sure I understand the use case here.

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

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