[whatwg] Proposal for autocompletetype Attribute in HTML5 Specification

Ilya Sherman isherman at chromium.org
Wed Jan 18 21:30:08 PST 2012

On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 1:17 PM, Ilya Sherman <isherman at chromium.org> wrote:

> 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
> language)
>   + 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
> Thanks,
> ~Ilya Sherman, Chromium Autofill Developer

I have gotten a bit of feedback about this proposal via email/IRC/Google+;
but this thread has been vewy vewy quiet.  On Google+, Tantek Çelik
expressed concern [1] that this proposal “appears to be a fait-accompli,
that is, having already been implemented” in Chrome 15 under the
experimental attribute x-autocompletetype.  As I explained in my response
to Tantek's post, this proposal is not intended as a fait-accompli; but
rather is very much open to feedback and iteration.  If you have any
comments or suggestions, please send them along!  We have no interest in
indefinitely supporting this attribute prefixed with "x-", and fully expect
the proposal to evolve prior to (hopefully) acceptance into the HTML
[1] https://plus.sandbox.google.com/114128403856330399812/posts/9dKsD7Mi7JU

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