[whatwg] What exactly is contentEditable for?

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Tue Aug 30 04:03:25 PDT 2005

On 8/30/05, Matthew Raymond <mattraymond at earthlink.net> wrote:
>   You're talking about defining behavior for a semantic element. You're
> essentially dictating parts of the implementation of |contenteditable|
> to user agent vendors. 

Not at all, I'm saying the current implementation in IE is appropriate
for the use case, and moving away from IE's implementation will bring
new potential use cases into what's possible, but at the expense of
current use cases.

I've not actually seen many people wanting full on editing of entire
web-pages in a web-page, most of the use cases involve editing of
parts of webpages in constrained fashion.

> especially if IE doesn't have those limitations.

I'm not asking for any changes to IE's implementation of
contentEditable, whilst not being good, it does meet the use case I'm
raising here.  I'm arguing against changing it to try and meet other
use cases - I agree entirely with your other post with your 3
suggestions, leave contentEditable as is but well defined, add other
>   (Wouldn't they have to have hit a "blockquote" button on their
> toolbar to get that?)

Who knows what UA's might do, it was just an example, I'm sure you can
see the general issue.
 > > It might be nice, but I can't see how a user agent could really
> > achieve such a thing, what's it going to do change its edit bar for
> > every user, that would lose any consistency that would be gained by
> > providing it in browser.
>   Oh, I think I get it. You don't necessarily want there to be toolbars
> and the like,

No, I want contentEditable left as is, because not all the use cases
and delivered products of contentEditable are applicable to full
spectrum HTML authoring, they're limited to elements, no CSS, they're
limited in what elements they use etc.   A UA toolbar in a textarea
accept="text/html" would be a great idea.

> Is a simple, straight-forward rich editing
> control too much to ask for?

Absolutely not, but it's not the same thing as contentEditable, it has
different use cases, that's all I'm saying, we need both, not just



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