[whatwg] What exactly is contentEditable for?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Aug 23 17:01:46 PDT 2005

On Mon, 15 Aug 2005, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> How is [contentEditable] 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?

contentEditable is implemented. <textarea type="text/html"> is not.

> 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.

There may be some truth to that, but contentEditable also has other 
benefits, like integration with the DOM, and the ability to seemlessly 
integrate with the page. For example, on a wiki, you can be browing the 
content, and then toggle one area so it is contentEditable, edit it, and 
submit that, all asynchronously and without having to switch in a 
<textarea> or anything like that.

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

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