[whatwg] Placeholder option for text input boxes

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Sat Oct 4 07:01:34 PDT 2008

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 8:24 PM, Andy Lyttle <whatwg at phroggy.com> wrote:

> On Oct 3, 2008, at 4:35 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> Man, I could *really* see the "hint" function being viable and quite
> useful.  It offers up a completely new-and-useful semantic, and there's no
> particular place it should already go.  I'd accept this as a new attribute
> without reservation if it was renamed @hint, so it's absolutely clear what
> the semantic for it is.
> The only reason to use placeholder instead of hint is that Apple already
> implemented placeholder.  Documentation should explain that placeholder is
> to be used for hints, not for labels (and people can then ignore the
> documentation and use it for labels anyway, but at least we tried).

Well, we don't really have interop yet, since *only* Webkit implements it
currently, and officially only on a single non-standard input type (though
it happens to apply to text and similar input types).  If we can shift the
name over *now*, before FF implements it fully, it would probably be fine.

On the other hand, I don't want to be one of those jerks who tries to block
a feature solely because they don't like its name.  However, it's a proven
fact that most people don't look at documentation *ever*, and so having the
name provide a perfectly intuitive hint for what the attribute is supposed
to do would probably be best.  At the very least it would set up some
cognitive dissonance for people using it as a label, hopefully.

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