[whatwg] [WF2] Objection to autocomplete Attribute

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Sat Mar 12 15:36:55 PST 2005

Chris Holland wrote:
> How about this. Instead of an autocomplete attribute to specific form
> elements, how about an attribute that is less specific about
> instructing the user agent what to do:
> sensitiveinput="yes"

That is more elegant. However, everything I said about autocomplete="no" 
would still apply. Therefore, browsers would continue to support it, 
whether or not they also supported sensitiveinput="yes". Therefore, 
there would now be two attributes performing much the same function. 
Unlike previous examples of new code replacing old (<form> replacing 
<isindex>, CSS replacing <font>), there would be zero advantage to Web 
authors using sensitiveinput="yes". The sole difference would be that 
autocomplete="no" was massively more reliable. Therefore, no-one would 
use sensitiveinput="yes".

It is a bad idea for a Web specification to contain things no-one will 
use. Every bit of complexity decreases the number of people who will 
bother reading the spec at all, which decreases the average level of 
compliance, which makes the Web worse.

 > Upon the first installation of a user agent, upon the first encounter
 > for a "sensitiveinput" attribbute on a form, a user agent might
 > consider warning the user.

Actually, browser vendors are competing on reducing the frequency of 
popup windows, not increasing it.

Matthew Thomas

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