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

Jim Ley jim.ley at
Mon Jul 19 14:21:47 PDT 2004

On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 20:51:50 +0100, Dean Edwards <dean at> wrote:
> >> I've done that, so far it's being rejected primarily because it is not
> >> supportable by HTC's!
> >
> it was rejected because the <object> element does not reside in the DOM.

Which is purely related to HTC's since inline script legacy support is
fine here, or even HTC's with a simple extra convention as exampled in
my previous post.

Let me clarify the advantages of the OBJECT approach as I see them:

They'll work with HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 content, no need for people
to learn new elements, or a new DTD at the top, which also means no
need to get a new validator (or convince the validator people to all
update their packaged DTD's etc.), in fact no need to write a new DTD.
All in all much less new stuff to do.

They allow people to degrade the content in any way they see fit, they
can provide better input elements than a text element to anyone, even
without using any script, or even just by using their existing
scripts, the pages could in fact be modified purely by wrapping parts
in OBJECT elements.

Doesn't overload the input element, this simplifies the server portion
of the script, it knows if it's getting the object named submission or
the legacy content, so can immediately fork the validation routines
there.    They should be simpler for the WF2 client, as it knows valid
input will a valid ISO date time for example.

Accessibility is improved, you can provide user help with entering the
data only in the legacy case - very important as we have seen with
datetime, where so far the fallback is rudimentary at best.

It can be implemented easily in binary plug-in extension - I realise
this isn't a requirement, but a binary plugin for IE would be much
better than a script one, with the new element approach, the only
option is a binary behaviour, and they need author support so to get
into the page.   OBJECT doesn't have any such limitation.

and the disadvantage of this mark-up ?

Oh yeah - it doesn't appear in the IE6 DOM.

there are probably others, but I've not been able to think of any -
and I'm pretty pessimistic about proposals, as I'm sure people have

Comments in CIWAH seem to agree with me:
see message id: er8of0pojpnri5urc4ima5307q4jqjqrte at

I really think this should be reconsidered, and proper arguments
favouring new elements, and overriding input further be looked at
against this.



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