[whatwg] A mechanism to improve form autofill

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Thu Jul 26 01:46:47 PDT 2012

Aryeh Gregor writes:

> ... in Israel, and I assume some other countries, there are national
> ID numbers that are considered public info.

In the UK library user ID 'numbers' are useful on multiple sites. As
well as the local library's own website, it grants access to many
reference sites that the library subscribes to, such as those of 'The
OED' and 'Encyclopædia Britannica'.

Similarly there are other organizations that one can be a member of
whose ID numbers need to be provided to multiple websites. For example
with some loyalty cards or frequent flyer programmes points can be
collected from multiple retailers.

It would be really useful if the auto-fill mechanism could cope with
such ID numbers: they are often long strings which few people know from

So I'm wondering if there could be a 'membership' or 'ID number'
field-type, followed by an identifier which organization this is, such




This would be different from the other autocomplete field types Hixie
has proposed, because the organization suffix is open-ended, rather than
from a fixed set. I think that's inevitable: the HTML standard can
hardly spec every organization that somebody could be a member of.

It would be up to each organization that issues membership numbers to
decree the suffix that's used for it. Other websites that have forms
requiring membership numbers for that organization presumably already
have a relationship with it, so can easily ask them which suffix to use;
there's no particular need for a central list where one can look up an
arbitrary organization's suffix.

Clashes are possible, of course, but I suspect in practice if
organizations chose their own name (including a geographic part if the
organization is specific to a particular country or region) this
wouldn't be a big problem.

'Number' above is in scare quotes, since some of these types of ID
numbers contain letters as well.

OpenID URLs could be viewed as one example of cross-site membership, so
could possibly be covered by a system such as this. But since OpenID is
an open standard which anybody can use, and isn't tied into a particular
organization, an autocomplete type specifically for OpenID URLs may be



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