[whatwg] File Upload Control

Smith, Rolland Rolland.Smith at SPR.DOE.GOV
Thu Jul 22 09:41:09 PDT 2004

I figured you meant "prescribe". I also want to apologize for the image
in my first post. That's just a standard in my sig that I use at work
and I had not seen the list before I sent the email, nor do I post to
lists often, and lastly nor was I a member when I posted.

On to it - After reading your response I now have a better understanding
for how "spec formation" works. I was missing the part about the UA
decides on how the controls are displayed thinking that presentation
originated from HTML due to my experience with only using either
Mozilla, Netscape, or IE which of course leaves out a lot including
handicapped UA's.

Security issue - I now understand why you wouldn't want to be able to
change the appearance.

UA representation of the file upload control when multiple files allowed
- Well, now that I know what I know it doesn't seem like much of a topic
for this list and I apologize. I will say though that I think putting
all file paths/strings in one textbox for a given (say 3) number of file
uploads per control would be strange to me which is why I suggested 3
textboxes/3 browse buttons alongside each other OR rather a multi-select
box displaying all the files that will be uploaded. Enough on that.

CSS application to textboxes - I have applied size and display styles
with CSS many times to textboxes. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you
are telling me when you say that text boxes aren't stylable?

Rolland Smith

-----Original Message-----
From: Malcolm Rowe [mailto:malcolm-what at farside.org.uk] 
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 2:37 AM
To: Smith, Rolland
Cc: whatwg at whatwg.org
Subject: Re: [whatwg] File Upload Control

Smith, Rolland wrote:
  > What my suggestion/request is, is that the file upload control be
> customizable by CSS just as the regular form textboxes are. 
> Furthermore
> if there was a way to style the button and the textbox separately that

> would be an extreme help, as well as making the browse button an IMAGE

> instead of the standard text display button with a gray background and

> just "Browse" on it.

Note that, technically, CSS doesn't define how form controls should be 
styled at all; a future specification from the CSS working group is 
expected to cover that hole. In practice, however, many of the CSS 
styles work as you might expect, but not necessarily interoperably 
between browsers.

Additionally, note that HTML does not proscribe any rendering for <input

type=file> controls, and so there's no way to guarantee that the UA 
provides a 'Browse' button coupled with an input box. Again, in 
practice, many (not all) do exactly that.

These two things, in addition to the security issue that David mentioned

earlier, mean that it's unlikely that we'll see the ability to style 
file upload controls in any meaningful cross-browser fashion any time

> [...] in the new spec you'd be able to specify a Number of
> files to upload per file upload control. Does this mean that for 
> whatever number is entered (say 3) that we'd see 3 textboxes/browse 
> buttons for 3 file uploads

You can specify 'min' and 'max' numbers of files for the control; these 
default to '0' and '1' respectively, making the default behaviour the 
same as the current behaviour. Just like the HTML spec, the WF2 spec 
doesn't mandate any kind of visual appearance for the upload controls, 
though I'd think it'd be pretty strange for a UA to replicate the 
control in the way you're suggesting.

It's more likely that a visual UA would present a control similar to the

currently-provided one, and just permit multiple files to be entered in 
the text box/selected from the dialog box. But that is up to the UA.

 > [...] and that each of those must be (validation
 > built-in?) filled out with a proper file path to an existing file?

The default is for the 'min' attribute to be zero, making the control 
optional, so no, allowing up to three files to be uploaded does not 
require that number of files to be uploaded.

>     * Make the file upload control fully customizable by CSS as the
>       regular textboxes are

They are, per spec, since text boxes aren't stylable :)  But no, this 
seems unlikely, if for no other reason than security.

>     * Possibly allow the textbox and Browse button to be treated
>       separately maintaining GLOBAL or individual properties with
>       regards to regular HTML type properties and CSS properties.

I don't quite understand what this means, but it seems to hinge on the 
assumption that we always have a 'textbox-and-button' control, which is 

>     * Allow upload of more than one file per upload control, but do
>       force the number of files specified to be required and instead
>       offer a validation option that would either force this or allow
>       to be any number of files within the specified range (i.e.: 4 is
>       specified; allow 1 to 4 files; not requiring a minimum of 4)

<input type=file min=1 max=4>
<input type=file min=0 max=4> or <input type=file max=4>
if you want to make it completely optional.

> Picture (Metafile)

By the way, your email was about 72Kb in size, and only 7% of that was 
'important' - the rest was taken up by this image and a duplicate of 
your message. Please don't do that again.


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