[whatwg] One label: multiple fields

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Tue Mar 13 10:37:31 PDT 2007

Currently in HTML 4, and apparently in Web Forms 2, there is a rule that 
each label element applies to exactly one input field. 10 inputs, at 
least 10 labels.

However looking at a number of tabular but not exactly repeating forms, 
both on the Web and on paper, I notice that it common for the column 
headers to essentially serve as label for the input fields. For example

             Homework 1  Homework 2 Homework 3
John Smith    87           86         98
Jane Jones   100           78         98
Fred Wilde    89           65         69

What strikes me about examples like this is that the labels for the 
input fields naturally apply to more than one input field. For example, 
in the above each label covers three fields. I wonder if there's a 
common use case to say something like

<label for="A1 A2 A3">Homework 1</label>
<label for="B1 B2 B3">Homework 2</label>
<label for="C1 C2 C3">Homework 3</label>

Currently this is not possible. The label's for attribute can only point 
to one input element.

Some of these are cases of repeating forms. I'm not yet convinced all of 
them are, though. I need to explore that further. In particular, this 
seems to come up even in fixed forms with no add, delete, or move 
functionality expected. Still if the labels repeat maybe it just is a 
repeating control? I'm not sure.

Anyone else want to chime in here? Has anybody else noticed a need that 
would be solved by essentially changing the for attribute from IDREF to 
IDREFS? Thoughts?

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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