[whatwg] size content attribute on <input type=number>

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Sep 14 04:29:55 PDT 2009

On Sun, 6 Sep 2009, Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> The current spec prohibits input elements in the Number state from 
> having the size attribute:
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/forms.html#number-state
> I don't see the reason for this.  It seems at least as likely that the 
> author would like to provide a hint for the length of a number field as, 
> say, a URL field.  Users are likely to only want to submit one- or 
> two-digit numbers in some cases, and decimal numbers with very high 
> precision in other cases.  It would be reasonable to have size=3 for an 
> "age" field, for instance, but a much larger size for a field in a 
> scientific application.  Of course, if the UA provides an input 
> mechanism that doesn't resemble a text box, it might not be relevant to 
> that particular UA, but a text-boxy thing is a logical way to implement 
> type=number, and in fact that's how Opera does it.

Use the min, max, and step attributes to specify the range, then the UA 
can automatically determine the size.

> Also note that even when UAs are expected to implement special input
> mechanisms where specifying size doesn't make sense, it could still be
> useful to specify a size to get more graceful fallback in older
> browsers.  The default <input> size in most browsers is likely quite a
> lot larger than necessary to specify a time, for instance.  It's worth
> considering allowing size for all the new input types for that reason.

That's an interesting idea. In practice, though, I think people will have 
much more elaborate fallback than just text -- using script -- so that the 
size="" attribute isn't that important for this purpose. When no script is 
available, the default size is fine, IMHO. I'd rather make the conformance 
criteria be forward-looking here.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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