[whatwg] Textarea Wishlist

Lachlan Hunt lachlan.hunt at iinet.net.au
Wed Jun 30 19:05:33 PDT 2004

Ryan Johnson wrote:
> 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.

   The difficulty with this comes from creating a syntax definition file 
that can accurately describe the syntax and colour coding necessary for 
whatever lanugage it's describing, whether it be XML/HTML/SGML, C/C++, 
Java, Perl, or any other language.  Such a file type would be out of the 
scope of web apps, but perhaps providing the ability to reference a 
syntax definition file with a URI could be included.

   However, there's still the problem that no standard file type for 
that purpose exists; and, AFAIK, no work is currently being done to 
define a standard fomat.  Many editors use proprietary formats with 
varying degrees of extensibility, or even have the syntax detection and 
colouring hard coded within the application, but I doubt any of those 
would be suitable for use in a web application.  One would most likely 
need some kind of new XML language, but then your still stuck with the 
backwards compatibity issues of current UAs not supporting that new format.

   Although, you've given me another idea.  It would be nice to be able 
to reference a DTD or Schema that could be used by the UA to validate 
the user's input as a valid (X)HTML/XML fragment.  That feature would be 
really helpful with many blogs that currently suffer from validation 
problems that come with readers posting comments containing markup.

Lachlan Hunt

lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au

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