[whatwg] Proposal for autocompletetype Attribute in HTML5 Specification

Ilya Sherman isherman at chromium.org
Thu Dec 15 13:17:58 PST 2011

Current autofill products rely on contextual clues to determine the type of
data that should be filled into form elements. Examples of these contextual
clues include the name of the input element, the text surrounding it, and
placeholder text.

We have discussed the shortcomings of these ad hoc approaches with
developers of several autofill products, and all have been interested in a
solution that would let website authors classify their form fields
themselves. While current methods of field classification work in general,
for many cases they are unreliable or ambiguous due to the many variations
and conventions used by web developers when creating their forms:

  + Ambiguity: Fields named "name" can mean a variety of things, including
given name, surname, full name, username, or others. Similar confusion can
occur among other fields, such as email address and street address.

  + Internationalization: Recognizing field names and context clues for all
the world’s languages is impractical, time-intensive, and error-prone (as
good context clues in one language may mean something else in another

  + Unrelated Naming: Due to backend requirements (such as a framework that
a developer is working within), developers may be constrained in what they
can name their fields. As such, the name of a field may be unrelated from
the data it contains.

We believe that website authors have strong incentive to facilitate
autofill on their forms to help convert users in purchase and registration
flows. Additionally, this assists users by streamlining their experience.

To that end we would like to propose adding an autocompletetype attribute
[1] to the HTML5 specification, as a complement to the existing
autocomplete attribute that would eliminate ambiguity from the process of
determining input data types.  We developed this initial draft proposal
working together with developers or several autofill products, and are now
looking forward to feedback and suggestions from the broader community.
[1] http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/Autocompletetype

~Ilya Sherman, Chromium Autofill Developer

More information about the whatwg mailing list