css at markschenk.com
Tue Jun 29 07:30:31 PDT 2004
As stated in the pattern section  it is desirable to have a description
of the required pattern available to the user. It is suggested to use the
title attribute for this. However, the current version of the spec also
recognizes the problems this can pose when it is handled incorrectly by
page authors, resulting in meaningless error messages.
The spec also suggests a possible solution by adding a new attribute,
pattern-hint. I would like to see something similar implemented, but in a
more generic form, namely as the "hint" attribute, which would be
*required* for any element using the pattern attribute.
Further down in the spec, discussing the help attribute , the hint
attribute is briefly touched upon. It is stated that:
"Note: This [the help attribute] attribute is added mainly because XForms
has it, to show that it would be trivial to add to HTML as well. However,
there is some doubt that it is actually a useful feature. The XForms hint
element is already supported in HTML, as the title attribute."
I do not entirely agree that the HTML title attribute is equivalent to the
XForms hint element, as in the following example which for entering a
(customer-/tracking-)id as is often used in correspondence between company
hint="The correspondence number is a number of the form
The title describes what the field is about and hint describes in what
format the data should be entered, which I think are two distinctly
So imho, the title attribute should not be used for giving information
about how the data should be inserted and a separate attribute is
desirable to get more meaningful errors. An added advantage of using an
attribute other than title for this, is that you can make it *required*
for an element that has a pattern attribute. Note: no-one would prevent
authors from also providing information about the format in the title
attribute, to allow for graceful degradation to non-WF2 UA's.
Furthermore I would prefer a more generic attribute like "hint" over
"pattern-hint" as it is more similar to XForms and it will allow for
possible expansion to other elements in future versions of the spec.
XForms allows both URL and inline text for the hint attribute, but for
WebForms I would suggest only using inline text as there is already the
help attribute which can be used to refer to more extensive help in
Best regards, Mark.
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