[whatwg] Spellchecking mark III

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Wed Dec 31 17:04:12 PST 2008

On Dec 31, 2008, at 12:26 PM, Robert O'Callahan wrote:

> On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 4:15 AM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com>  
> wrote:
> 2) The proposal Hixie linked seems way overengineered for this  
> purpose. First, it allows spellchecking to be explicitly turned on,  
> potentially overriding normal defaults, but that seems wrong; an  
> <input type="email"> should never spellcheck regardless of the page  
> author says. I can't see any valid use case for the author turning  
> spellchecking on regardless of UA defaults or user preferences.
> It allows you to have a region of text where spellchecking is  
> disabled via the spellcheck attribute, but containing subregions  
> where spellchecking is enabled.

It seems to me you would have to have a lot of custom code to maintain  
the boundaries between such regions during editing operations for this  
to ever work right. Normal text editing would easily lead to text  
moving across the boundaries. There would have to be strong motivating  
examples to justify such a hard-to-use feature.

> Second, it allows spellchecking to be controlled at a finer  
> granularity than editability, for which again I think there is no  
> valid use case. Both of these aspects make the feature more  
> complicated to implement and harder to understand, compared to just  
> having a way to only disable spellchecking at the same granularity  
> as editing.
> A use case is editable program code, where spellchecking is  
> disabled, but where spellchecking is enabled inside comments. Maybe  
> that sounds a little far-fetched for today's Web applications, but  
> some IDEs (e.g. Eclipse) support this so it seems like something  
> we'd want in the future.

This sounds like a pretty ill-conceived feature. It is very common for  
comments to include code, or fragments of code (such as variable  
names) mixed with natural language. (I was unable to find any evidence  
of spellchecking comments in the copy of Eclipse I downloaded, so I  
can't comment on the details.)

Furthermore, other IDEs generally don't attempt to do this, and I  
can't think of other application categories that would do something  

So I don't think this makes for a very compelling use case. It's like  
arguing for a page layout feature based on something only WordPerfect  


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