[whatwg] Suggestion: Implementation of Tabbed Forms

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 8 08:40:05 PDT 2004

fantasai wrote:
> I don't see why you're calling these sections "mutually exclusive".
> The /presentation/ of each section excludes the presentation of other
> sections, but I've yet to see an example of how the sections are
> themselves mutually exclusive. As has been described before, degrading
> a set of preference panels into a long page of fieldsets makes just
> as much logical sense as the tabs, it's just less pleasant to look at.
> The one difference I see is that the tabs are "unordered" (i.e. they
> can degrade to a set of fieldsets arranged in any order without changing
> the meaning, like the items in an unordered list) whilst an actual page
> of fieldsets implies ordering (ordered list).

    Before I discovered Dean Edwards' little namespace hack, I would 
have agreed with you, but the problem is that <fieldset> and <legend> 
elements are consistently styled across all browsers. Mozilla 1.7 
ignores positional styling for <legend>. Internet Explorer allows the 
background color to extend above the top border, and displays 
OS-specific styling when no other styling is present, such as blue 
labels and rounded borders. (The rounded borders disappear as soon as 
you style either the border or the background. As for Opera, I'm not 
sure why, but my test layout wasn't rendered correctly, even though I 
used minimal CSS.

    By contrast, unknown elements would be treated like <div> or <span> 
elements, and the behaviors of those are far more consistent across 
various browsers.

    As it stands, it is easier to style an unknown element and a header 
or label to look like a tab or fieldset than in is to make a fieldset 
look like a tab. Therefore, it makes sense to come up with a 
semantically based solution that doesn't offend semantic purists than it 
does to come up with some system that alters the existing behavior of 

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