Javascript for degradation [ Re: [whatwg] Suggested changes to Web Forms 2.0, 2004-07-01 working ]

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at
Mon Jul 19 12:35:27 PDT 2004

Jim Ley wrote:
>>   I presume you mean in XP SP2, which has not yet been released. This
>>also assumes that HTC support is turned off by default in SP2 for most
> It doesn't assume any such thing, more permissions are needed to run
> HTC's than just script, a simple fact of XP SP2.

    The number of prompts the user MIGHT encounter is not as important 
as the number of prompts the user statistically WILL encounter. If > 90% 
of  all Internet users can use HTCs without being prompted, and HTC is 
the best solution, then that's what we should use.

> I see you've just chopped my other advantages, the fact that it
> supports 10's of other UA's to me seems to be a great advantage.  It
> could even work on Opera 7 Symbian.

    I simply forgot to reply to that part of the message. The other day 
I submitted a message with a half-completed sentence because I forgot to 
finish it. It happens on multipage messages like this one.

    As for plain script that works on multiple browsers, I would remind 
you that you'd have to ensure a high degree of cross-browser 
compatibility. Such a solution would take a significantly longer 
development time and benefit only a very small number of users, most of 
whom will have WF2 support once they upgrade their browsers to the 
newest version.

    I might remind you that nothing is stopping anyone from creating a 
pure script solution, and both the pure script and HTC efforts may even 
cooperate and reuse each other's code.

>>In the message, Dean specifies the following as problems:
>>4) Memory leaks, which seems to be a problem with IE JScript in general.
>>5) Crashes, which he says are far more likely in the testing phase.
> Yep, these sound pretty f'ing alarming for release quality web-applications ! 

    No. 4, as a problem in JScript in general, is a problem for your 
solution as well, so I don't see what you're getting at. Also, XP SP2 
may fix some of those leaks, especially with Microsoft resuming 
maintenance on IE.

    As for No. 5, I'll leave this to Dean, as I don't know the details. 
I don't get the impression that he thinks that crashing will be a 
serious problem with the HTC solution, though.

>>   This would suggest that for some of WF2, behaviors are the ONLY way
>>to go,
> Yes... but this is my point!  We're predicating the degradability and
> choosing solutions that rely on HTC's some slight tweak of those
> features could remove the dependance on HTC's - in any case, there's
> nothing other than oninvalid that I've seen so far that couldn't be
> implemented in pure script.

    There's a difference between coming up with new features that work 
on the majority browser and features that work on the lowest common 
denominator of all browsers. I don't believe we should drop features 
simply because the can't be implemented using Javascript on Minority 
Browser X. If we have to worry about that, why did we even bother with 
graceful degradation?

    We can always implement everything except the features that need HTC 
in plain script, then use HTC specifically for those features. That way, 
if there's a non-HTC solution on a specific browser, a custom solution 
can be coded fairly easily.

>>   You've been given every opportunity to suggest markup that
>>gracefully degrades as opposed to "last ditch degradation", 
> I've done that, so far it's being rejected primarily because it is not
> supportable by HTC's!

    The only case I can think of is your <object> solution for 
comboboxes, and I personally listed many problems with that solution.

> It is supportable by plain script, with all
> the enhancements, and would even be supportable by HTC's if you chose
> that approach (you would have to include an extra DIV/SPAN or
> something element in that situation, but it's perfectly doable.)

    Please explain how this is possible in plain script, but is somehow 
not possible in an HTC.

>>   Then do you have a suggestion about how new web forms and web app
>>standards can be implemented on such smartphones without software upgrade?
> Sure, degrade to more complicated HTML than just textboxes.  I've even
> provided some examples of how it might look.

    I don't recall seeing such an example, nor does a quick message 
search yield everything. So if you want to convince anyone, I suggest 
you cough up these examples, since there's something like 1400 messages 
in the mailing list to go through.

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