[whatwg] What exactly is contentEditable for?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Aug 24 05:10:57 PDT 2005

On Wed, 24 Aug 2005, Matthew Raymond wrote:
> Yeah, I think you may have a point. It may make more sense to enable 
> editing of DOM Ranges through scripting rather than putting it in 
> markup.

Uh, that would be unbelievably hard to implement.

> After all, if we're going to be dynamically inserting and removing 
> |contenteditable| all over the place, we're already using scripting. On 
> the other hand, if you have a static block that you're going to edit and 
> submit, an actual control makes more sense, be it <htmlarea> or 
> <textarea accept="text/html">.

Well, we already have <textarea accept>. It's up to you guys to convince 
UA makers to implement it. :-)

It's worth bearing in mind that Microsoft originally had <htmlarea> and 
dropped it competely in favour of contentEditable before shipping.

> Hmm. IE supports the .contentEditable property, so why not just drop
> the HTML attribute |contenteditable| and leave the DOM property?

Having content attributes is good for serialising DOM states. For example, 
the fact that the "value" DOM attribute on controls is not the same as the 
content attribute has caused many problems and makes it impossible to 
store the state of a modified form in a serialised format.

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

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