[whatwg] [WF2] Clear On Focus attribute

Stijn Peeters stijn.p at hccnet.nl
Mon May 21 08:35:27 PDT 2007

It is becoming increasingly common to have an input field clear its
value when it is first focused. Though in a lot of cases this is
actually wrong usage of the value=""  attribute for something which
should actually be done with <label> (such as a search box filled with
"Enter search query here" that becomes empty when you first click it),
it is possible to come up with legitimate use cases; the first thing
that comes to mind are input fields with placeholder or default values
that may need to be changed. This goes well together with WF2's new
abilities for prefilling forms.

It makes sense to clear these values when the field is focused, as the
user will probably want to insert a new value rather than edit the value
that is currently in it. Currently this is mostly done through
javascript, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but seeing that
attributes such as autofocus=""  have also found their way into the
spec, I suppose this is also inside the scope of Web Forms 2 or HTML5.
As for the attribute name, clearonfocus="" with "clearonfocus" as the
only possible value (indicating the input field or textarea should be
cleared upon focusing it) would probably be most suitable.


Stijn Peeters

More information about the whatwg mailing list