[whatwg] Pattern Hint

Dean Edwards dean at edwards.name
Wed Aug 3 14:03:41 PDT 2005

I know this has been suggested before, and was rejected, but I would 
quite like to see a "pattern hint" attribute added to Web Forms 2.0. 
With more complex input controls we should spare a thought for the poor 

I've been trying to think of ways to feedback pattern mismatch help info 
but end up scratching my head. How do I explain in generic terms a 
"pattern mismatch"? Some help text needs to be supplied by the interface 
to help in scenarios where pattern mismatches occur. Otherwise the user 
is going to be flummoxed.

The blockage before was discoverability. I can see a way round that. A 
simple hint button/icon next to the control will do. A hint button would 
be considered part of the browser's chrome and would not be stylable by 
CSS. Failing that, the hint text can at least be fed back to the user on 
validation failure.

A "hint" attribute could probably be extended to other control types 
too. However, I'm not sure that this is necessary as most input types 
imply the kind of data they need. Text patterns are the exception, they 
can be complex but meaningful. Some help would be good.


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