[whatwg] <input type=number> without keyboard editing

ddailey ddailey at zoominternet.net
Sun Nov 7 18:02:57 PST 2010

This discussion reminds me vaguely of something I've given students for the 
past n years (where n is >dirt):

Build a widget called a "throttle"  (i.e., a number-picker)

"Allow the user to control acceleration as numbers (real or integer) between 
1 and 10,000 are selected. High on the throttle increases the rate of change 
(velocity); low decreases it. See if you can make a "number-picker" that 
works quicker than a keyboard. [for selecting particular preseleted 

The problem is vaguely related to a question of mathematics: while an 
ordinary base n writing system allows the expression of any number, n, 
using log (n) digits, some systems that are equally efficient have the added 
benefit (?) that individual numbers may be expressed in more than one way. 
Ordinary bases have exactly one expression per number and all numbers are 
expressible. Some systems might easily express certain numbers using log 
(log (n)) digits, but might not be able to express all numbers. (for 
example, the expression "2^(2^n)" expresses the n digit number (base 2) that 
it represents , using only  log (log (n)) digits ). Is there a system of 
expression more efficient that ordinary base n for writing all numbers? 
Suppose there is a writing system S that encodes all numbers, n, expressible 
in S, using at most log(log(n)) digits. If such a system is not possible 
then there must be a smallest number Q that is not expressible within that 
system. Let us express that number using the symbol "Q" which takes one 

If we had a control which allowed the entry of any large integer more 
quickly than through a numeric keypad, then would this not be a good widget? 
Likewise, the question of optimizing the "color picker" interface so that a 
human can choose "precisely" (modulo psy) a predetermined color (in RGB, 
HSV, or CIELAB space) in the least amount of time, has not, I would claim, 
yet been optimized. I think the optimal solution would involve throttles in 
an intrinsically toroidal space.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dean Edwards" <dean.edwards at gmail.com>
To: "TAMURA, Kent" <tkent at chromium.org>
Cc: "whatwg" <whatwg at whatwg.org>
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2010 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: [whatwg] <input type=number> without keyboard editing

> On 01/11/2010 02:31, TAMURA, Kent wrote:
>> A team in Google tried to use <input type=number> for a product, and they
>> decided
>> not to use it.
>> What they needed was a control to select an integer from a specific 
>> integer
>> range
>> such as 1 - 16. The number type control in Opera and WebKit allow a user 
>> to
>> input
>> out-of-range value even if the control has min=1 and max=16 attributes.
>> It's not
>> a good UI and the reason why they doesn't use type=number.
>> They need a number control which
>> - doesn't allow any keyboard / cut&paste operations and
>> So, a text field part is read-only, but the spin-buttons work.
>> - always has a valid value.
>> "required" by default, and sanitization algorithm may be different.
> Use <select>.
> -dean

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