[whatwg] False orthogonal nature :read-only and :disabled in WF2

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 15 03:39:31 PDT 2006

Ian Hickson wrote:
> I understand (and agree) that WF2 disagrees with CSS3UI and Selectors 
> here. I believe the error is in CSS3UI and in Selectors.

   I would agree with that, although I think we disagree as to what the
error is.

> Having them be orthogonal is far more useful to authors. For example, 
> imagine the following stylesheet:
>    :read-only::after { content: ' (Read-only)'; }
>    :disabled { color: gray; }
> You wouldn't want all the :disabled fields to suddenly say "read-only" 
> just because they weren't relevant. You wouldn't want to have to say:
>    :not(:disabled):read-only { ... }
> ...every time you wanted to style the fields which, when enabled, still 
> can't be edited.
> I'll see if I can get Selectors updated.

   Please go back and address the concerns that I posted on www-style in
detail when you update Selectors.

>> There is a clear double standard here. I had a problem with the way
>> :read-only was defined, that it applied to elements that did not have a
>> |readonly| attribute, but you made it clear that I would have to go
>> through www-style to get it changes in the CSS3-UI specification before
>> getting a related change made in the WF2 spec.
> Well, :read-only has always been intended to apply to everything. There's 
> a difference between the basic concept of the pseudo-class and the exact 
> definiton of the pseudo-class.

   That's the point. The :read-only pseudo-class should never have been
defined as applying to everything. It should apply to markup that has a
defined read-only state. The text-based input of a control is not
comparable to a |contenteditable| region of HTML. For instance, if you
can't edit the markup of an <input> element, but you can edit the text
in the control, then at the markup level, the control is read-only, but
the actual control contents are read-write. Conversely, what if you have
an <input readonly> control as the child of an element with
|contenteditable| enabled? In this case, the markup actual says
"readonly", but it might still be considered read-write because the
markup can be changed.

>> Yet when you have a problem with the definition of the 
>> _EXACT_SAME_PSEUDO-CLASS_, you just change the WF2 spec to produce 
>> orthogonally where none existed in the collective W3C specs.
>> Perhaps you can explain to me how you justify this.
> I'm trying to make the specs be useful to authors.

   Having to style control elements using selectors like
"html|input[readonly]" as opposed to ":readonly" doesn't strike me as
more useful for authors. Also, note that for stuff like XForms, you can
end up in a situation where there's no clear way of styling a
"read-only" control, since the "read-only" property may not exist
directly on the element. Of course, if we start talking about other XML
languages here, we're getting off topic...

   (Gee, I was really angry when I wrote that previous message... :) )

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