[whatwg] Suggestion for Menus in Web Forms 2.0

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Mon Sep 6 00:39:59 PDT 2004

On 26 Aug, 2004, at 11:30 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> ...
> On Tue, 10 Aug 2004, Matthew Thomas wrote:
> ...
>> Er, really? So in HTML5, what do you propose will be the recommended 
>> way of making these controls invisible in downlevel UAs?
> ...
>> *   <select>
>> *   <textarea>
> Not sure what you are referring to here, these aren't new in HTML5.

Well, neither is <menu> technically. But my main point is that I don't 
see why being able to hide <menu>s without CSS is any more of a good 
idea than being able to hide any of those other interactive elements 
without CSS.

> ...
>> I appreciate that CSS isn't an ideal degradation mechanism, but then
>> making something invisible is an odd sort of degradation for an
>> interactive element to begin with.
> Not if that element wouldn't do anything useful anyway. For example, 
> you wouldn't want a context menu to degrade to something visible, you 
> would just not have the context menu feature.
> ...

I think that's a bad misjudgement of the average intelligence of Web 
designers: it assumes that for each item in the shortcut menu, they'll 
provide alternative access elsewhere. But even developers of native 
applications (who are likely to be smarter on average, since developing 
native applications is more difficult) often forget to do this. (For 
example, a certain browser vendor that shall remain nameless makes it 
possible to set an image as your Windows wallpaper -- but only if you 
know of, and are able to use, the shortcut menu.)

And no, saying "authors should provide alternative access to everything 
in a hidden-syntax shortcut menu" in the WA spec won't work, just as 
saying the same in the Mac and Windows UI guidelines hasn't worked for 
native applications. But at least in Mac OS and Windows it's always 
*possible* to access the shortcut menu, whereas in WA-ignorant UAs it 

Matthew Thomas

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