[whatwg] What exactly is contentEditable for?

Lachlan Hunt lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au
Mon Aug 15 04:47:24 PDT 2005

Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> Quoting dolphinling <dolphinling at myrealbox.com>:
>> Perhaps I've missed something, but while I've seen lots on what 
>> contentEditable does and how it works and how various other things are 
>> associated with it, I've never actually seen anything explaining *why* 
>> it exists. So... what's it good for?
> Could you be more specific? It basically enables WYSIWYG editing for web 
> pages.
> (With the freedom that you can restrict certain elements from being 
> edited, et
> cetera.)

How is that any different from a text area form control with a specified 
accept type of text/html, which would allow a UA to load any external 
editor (eg. XStandard) or degrade to a regular text area?


<textarea content-type="text/html">
<p>Markup goes in here.  User can edit with plain text editor or 
UA can load WYSIWYG editor for text/html (or whatever ever MIME type is 

That would be a far better option than using contentEditable, which is 
not only conceptually broken, but *all* implementations of it are so 
incredibly broken, that trying to standardise it is like dragging a dead 
horse through mud.

Lachlan Hunt

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