[whatwg] Textarea Wishlist

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Jun 30 12:20:15 PDT 2004

On Wed, 30 Jun 2004, Ryan Johnson wrote:
> This might have already been covered, but I can't get a sense from the
> archives, so I thought I would contribute my wishlist for what I would
> like to be able to do with a textarea element...
> 1) Control the cursor position via scripting.

Web Apps 1.0 requirement.

> 2) Easily preform a regex search, line search, or character search
> (i.e. identify patterns, lines or individual characters), to get the
> position of elements.

Not exactly sure what you mean, could you give us an example?

> 3) Extensible syntax highlighting (coloring). I am aware that a ton of
> code editors don't even do this well. The ability to load a syntax
> definition file and have it color a block of code would do wonders for
> making the web a more friendly place to script.

This is hard. ;-) Would be nice though. Noted for Web Apps.

> 4) TABS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know how this would
> affect tabbing between forms, but in my opinion, the accessibility
> problem created by not being able to tab out of a text area is far far
> far better than not being able to make a tab character unless you cut
> and paste it in.

That's a UA thing, really. Nothing is stopping UAs from allowing you to
insert tabs, e.g. by pressing ctrl-tab or something like that.

> The other thing I was curious about, is if there is some way, in between
> drafts of the specs to see wish lists or ideas? It's kind of hard to
> read all of the archives, and I imagine the list will grow quite rapidly
> in the future... Just My two cents - Ryan

The list of nicely written requirements is at the top of each spec in a
section called "Requirements". For example, for Web Apps 1.0, you can see
the list here:


In addition, each spec has a long list of requests that I haven't really
done through yet, in a comment at the bottom of the file. For Web Forms
2.0 the list is about 70 lines long and is reasonably neatly typed up.
It currently basically consists of the requirements we'll have for Web
Forms 3.0.

For Web Apps 1.0 the list is some 250 lines long but is a complete mess
because I keep cutting and pasting stuff from everyone's e-mails into the
list without really paying much attention to the format.

Some of the suggestions don't make much sense, or are very vague, and when
I come to going through the list I'll blink twice and ignore them; others
are just a few words to remind me of a discussion I had with someone.
There are also some that are simply URIs pointing to blog entries or
mailing list posts (some might even be W3C confidential mailing list
posts). So don't expect to necessarily understand them all. :-)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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