[whatwg] Syntax highlighting language attribute for editable elements

Ashley Sheridan ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk
Sun Jun 13 04:12:13 PDT 2010

On Sun, 2010-06-13 at 13:57 +0800, Brett Zamir wrote:

> Has thought been given to allow textarea, input and/or contenteditable 
> elements to use an attribute (maybe like <code/> does with 
> class=language-XX) so that user agents might be able to display the 
> editable text with syntax highlighting code automatically?
> This should not adversely affect users who do not have such browser 
> support, nor does it put pressure on browsers to implement immediately 
> (add-ons might take care of such a role). But having a convention in 
> place (even if languages are not predefined) would ensure that the 
> burden of implementing such support could be shifted away from the 
> developer if they are not so inclined.
> I'd prefer to see a dedicated attribute (also on <code/>) since the 
> language type does convey general interest semantic information, but I 
> think it would also ideally be consistent (i.e., the same attribute to 
> be used in <code/> as in <textarea/>, etc.).
> Maybe @lang/@xml:lang could be used for this purpose if its definition 
> could someone be widened to recognize computer languages.
> It would be nice, however, to also have some means of indicating that 
> the web author is providing their own styling of the element in the 
> event they wish to use their own editor.
> thank you,
> Brett Zamir

I think maybe not a class, as the class attribute already has a purpose
and is probably already used in a <code class="php"> type of capacity
already by some sites showing code excerpts. I'd suggest maybe extending
the lang attribute, but it's also conceivable that a code snippet might
be in Perl and written with French comments, and the lang attribute
wasn't meant for multiple values like the class attribute is. Perhaps
the best solution is to use another new attribute altogether?

It is a good idea though, I think, as it does add a lot of semantic
meaning to the content.


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