[whatwg] Spellchecking mark III

Peter Kasting pkasting at google.com
Tue Jan 27 09:49:37 PST 2009

2009/1/27 Křištof Želechovski <kkz at mimuw.edu.pl>

>  The original use of the spellcheck attribute was to switch spell checking
> off
No, the _original_ use was to turn it on on fields where it would otherwise
have been on.

> (I think we both believe it should generally be on).  Using a private
> language for the control would do the trick equally well, without
> introducing a new attribute.
It wouldn't do it equally well, since semantically, it would mean "this is
of language <private>", which will be strictly inaccurate.

>   Avoiding an additional attribute is a gain,

> If the language detection libraries are as good as you claim, why is
> Firefox unable to use them in a way that is not annoying?
Because no one has had the time or energy to devote to this?  I have worked
full-time on browsers for a number of years now and have never seen any team
with the time to fix all the things that could or should be fixed.

> As I have already mentioned, GMail should provide an option for the sender
> to inform the recipient about the language used in the message, not for the
> client-side spell checker, but for the recipient.
Which no one will ever use, because users aren't going to take the trouble
to declare such a thing when human recipients can just _read the text_.
 After all, WE have built-in language detectors in our heads.

> We can drop the suggestion language="auto" if you wish, but it would be an
> explicit way of informing the user that he is allowed to enter text in any
> language he pleases.
As if users aren't going to just enter whatever language they please into
any field they wish?  We design software that has to accommodate people, not
the other way around :)

I have no idea whether there are better things web apps and UAs can do
w.r.t. communicating what languages are used where.  All I know is that both
in the abtstract and practically, whether I want a field spellchecked by
default is a distinct concern from which language(s) would be used to
spellcheck it.  Therefore I continue to see the spellcheck attribute as
distinct from (though possibly complimentary to) language.

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