[whatwg] Select elements and radio button/checkbox groups [Was: Form Control Group Labels]

Markus Ernst derernst at gmx.ch
Thu Dec 4 02:25:21 PST 2008

Ian Hickson schrieb:
> Why is that a problem? Is converting one to the other a common occurance?
> I'm not really convinced it's that much work. Assuming that the radio 
> buttons and/or checkboxes are written in a consistent manner, which they 
> usually are, a simple regexp search-and-replace on the source is usually 
> enough to convert them.
> A few seconds with Emacs or any other editor with real search-and-replace 
> tools and you're done.
> Changing the few lines of code it takes to write a bunch of radio buttons 
> into the few lines of code it takes to write a <select> is easy.
> I agree entirely that if one is designing the language from scratch it 
> makes sense to be consistent. I'm not sure it makes sense to retroactively 
> change the language to impose consistency on it.

Well, as far as I get the various discussions in the WHATWG list, many 
of them are about one of the following:
- Making things easier
- Introducing features into HTML that are commonly solved by client-side 
(e.g. the extensions to the input element) or server-side scripting 
(e.g. solving the login/logout problem in HTML)
- Improving language consistency (e.g. the discussions about elements 
such as abbr, dfn, small, b etc.)

So I don't think that your arguments do not necessarily make my thoughts 
obsolete. Anyway I see the facts that WF2 is declared feature complete, 
that backwards compatibility has a very high priority, and that making 
form controls more consistent may not be crucial for WF2.

So let me, as a conclusion, repeat two points out of the suggestions I 
made earlier, which I think would be quite helpful, and which do not 
cause backwards compatibility problems, as they degrade to the default 
behaviour of the elements in older UAs. After that I will not insist in 
this topic anymore... :-)

1. Introduce a type attribute to the select element, which can change 
the output into a list of radio buttons (in normal mode) resp. 
checkboxes (in multiple mode).

2. Introduce a multiline attribute to input type="text", possibly 
supplemented by a rows attribute.

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