[whatwg] Spellchecking proposal #2

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 24 02:56:35 PDT 2006

mail at jorgenhorstink.nl wrote:
>> On Sat, 24 Jun 2006 12:27:33 +0700, Lachlan Hunt
>> <lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au> wrote:
>>>> Once again, a CSS/XBL based approach would be ere.
>>> I do not understand what you mean by a CSS/XBL approach in this
>>> context.
>> Moving the spellchecking control out of HTML into CSS or XBL binding.
> +1
> I've read this discussion, but [I] do not understand exactly
> why this should be denoted in markup.

   One could argue that |spellcheck| is behavioral, in which case it
should actually be in JavaScript and/or DOM. CSS is presentation only,
and XBL is for binding to additional CSS, HTML and Javascript, not for
providing semantics, behavior or presentation directly.

> [I] do not understand why it is needed anyway.
> [Is] the lang attribute not sufficient?

   No, because having a blank |lang| is abusive and confusing. What
happens if someone put |lang=""| in an element and meant to specify the
language, but forgot? Besides, setting |lang| on an HTML control may
mean that the default content is in that language rather than the
control accepting input in that language.

   Also, there's nothing intuitive about |lang=""| turning off spell
checking, so you would not normally assume that it would do so if you
saw it in the markup. Furthermore, |lang=""| may be present in legacy

> [What] about denoting every paragraph in a document should be
> spell checked, and denoting every del not?

   Personally, I find the idea of spell checking with |contenteditable|
a bit scary. It strikes me as clashing with the styling of the page.
You'd actually have a case for a :misspelled pseudo-class if this came
into being.

> [What] do spell checking attributes say about the structure of the
> document?

   About document _structure_? Absolutely nothing.

> [Why] not let the browser vendors determine what
> suites their needs on this issue.

   Actually, since interoperability isn't necessarily an issue here, you
may be on to something. Perhaps we shouldn't bother to specify how to
deal with spell checking beyond unavoidable interactions.

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