[whatwg] Re: <output> and onforminput

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 02:03:00 PDT 2004

On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 10:55:41 +0100, Malcolm Rowe
<malcolm-what at farside.org.uk> wrote:
> Jim Ley writes:
> >> I think you are reading way too much into "backwards compatible".
> >> HTML4+ECMAScript is "backwards compatible" with Lynx.
> > Sure it is, but HTML4 + WF2 is not - since you're over constraining
> > things like datetime which mean they do not work in a non-WF2 browser
> > without particularly aware users.
> How is a WF2 <input type=datetime> control any different to a HTML4 page
> containing a simple input control and a script that verifies that the date
> is in a particular formant? 

It's never used (I'll ask for about the 10th time for a use case for
datetime please)  You're dealing with the "particularly aware user" 
I'm not sure even I'm happy that I could usefully request a flight
that landed for my morning meeting in Fiji using a WF2 datetime
control in a legacy client, and I'm reasonably happy with timezones
and what UTC is.    I just don't think your average user is going to
be able to do it, and I don't think your average developer is going to
be willing to use the control for all non-UTC use (which means it'll
be great for the folks in casablanca, but not much else)

> If you agree that HTML4+ECMAScript degrades,
> then HTML4+WF2 degrades in a similar fashion. In both cases, the server has
> to accept 'invalid' data (either from a non-scripting or non-WF2 client,
> respectively), and deal with it (presumably by returning an error page).

If you use ES to change the format of the submission and reject
entries not in that format, then it doesn't degrade, this is what WF2
is likely to do, since we cannot know if the WF2
transformations/checks have been applied on the server.  Equally,
we're asking the user to dramatically constrain what they enter.

> I personally believe that Web Forms 2 must work in lynx. 

the WHATWG have stated this is not a goal though, IE6 was the only
goal for backwards compatibility.

> The repetition model is the only part of the spec that I'm aware of that is
> completely unusable if you have a non-WF2 non-DOM-supporting client. Are you
> aware of any others?

the changes to the action semantics, moving form elements outside of
form parent groups, the user problems I've highlighted with datetime
etc. Filling select elements, replace=* (there's no mechanism for the
server to know a WF2 client is making the request) and more, that's
just from a quick scan, it's difficult to track the document when it
changes so frequently, and I find myself having to read from scratch
again to see if what I remember is still in there.


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