[whatwg] Suggested changes to Web Forms 2.0, 2004-07-01 working

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Wed Jul 7 18:44:41 PDT 2004

On 8 Jul, 2004, at 2:09 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Tue, 6 Jul 2004, Hallvord Reiar Michaelsen Steen wrote:
>> Perhaps add something like..
>>     The "value" attribute may be used with date and time
>>     types to suggest an initial date/time for any
>>     calendar widget the UA may show. If omitted current
>>     date and time is used.
> But do we really want the following:
>    Birthday: <input type="date" name="bd">
> ...to default to today?

With a pointing device, it would still be faster to increment/decrement 
today's date to someone's birthday than it would be to 
increment/decrement an empty field to their birthday, because the 
latter would be impossible.

And with the keyboard, given a sufficiently well-designed datepicker 
(e.g. those used in MS Windows and Mac OS <X), replacing an existing 
date in a datepicker would take zero extra effort over entering a date 
in an empty field: each component would be selected when you navigated 
to it, so typing the new value would replace it.

> What if "today" isn't in the allowed range?

Then the datepicker could default to whichever of min or max is closest 
to the current date/time. (This would be the most appropriate default, 
for example, for airline booking forms.)

> ...
> Don't forget that if the user doesn't see the form
> and just hits submit, there'll be no way to distinguish it from an 
> intentional pick of today.
> ...
> Note how people wanted radio buttons to all be unchecked by default. 
> This is the same thing IMHO.

Except that it is *possible* (even if not a good idea) to default a set 
of radio buttons to no particular value. But there are many controls 
that is not true for.

Text fields are one example. How do you distinguish missing a text 
field from intentionally leaving it blank? You can't.

Password fields are another. How do you distinguish missing a password 
field from intentionally leaving it blank? You can't.

Checkboxes are another. How do you distinguish missing the checkbox 
from intentionally leaving it unchecked? In HTML at least, you can't.

SELECT menus -- as explicitly stated in the WF2 spec -- are another. 
How do you distinguish missing the menu from intentionally choosing the 
first option? You can't.

Time and date pickers, in all programs and on all platforms I've ever 
seen them on, are another. Given the number of other controls this is 
already true for, this is no great loss.

Matthew Thomas

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