[whatwg] repetition model

Malcolm Rowe malcolm-what at farside.org.uk
Sat Jun 19 03:30:36 PDT 2004

Hi Ian,

>Ok so here's a question for everyone. Assuming we want the <repeat>
>mechanism, which I think we do, [...]
Personally, I'm not so sure. The logic required to support the 
repetition model is extremely complex, compared to the rest of the 
document, so it should need to provide a significant benefit to us 
(users, authors) for it to be included.

It sounds like a good idea in theory. For example, all those order-entry 
applications could use it instead of providing a large input form with 
'add/delete' buttons. But in reality, where would it be used? I've been 
trying to think of examples, and I'm having trouble.

I'm not sure if the reason that I can't think of examples is because the 
functionality isn't yet available (and so people have designed sites to 
work without it), or whether it's because it's not as useful as it 
initially sounds.

For example, would Amazon use it? Theirs is a site with a 
'shopping-basket' metaphor, so it seems like it might be natural. But 
no, I don't think they would - the shopping-basket metaphor is a good 
one, because you want to assemble a list of the things you want in the 
background while browsing. You don't want to fill in a large list of 
items as a foreground task.

Ok then: At work, I use an intranet-based timesheet-entry application, 
with just a large entry form, and a list of entries with edit/delete 
buttons. Would we change that to use the repetition model? Again, 
probably not. There are several reasons: the entry form we have contains 
a lot of extra explanatory text that isn't in the list; the form is more 
powerful than the inline 'edit' functionality (not a good thing, but 
just illustrating that we'd need a significant amount of work to convert 
it); and finally, I don't think that a page of 100-200 form controls 
would be particularly usable (10-20 entries of 10 or so fields each). In 
other words, the model we're using is 'good enough', and it's not clear 
that the repetition model makes things significantly better.

I guess it boils down to this: it's really complex, so show me a 
compelling use case. I'm not against it, just not particularly sure 
whether I should be 'for' it.


More information about the whatwg mailing list