[whatwg] Should editable elements have placeholder attribute?

David Young dyoung at pobox.com
Wed May 2 11:10:30 PDT 2012

On Wed, May 02, 2012 at 01:02:10PM +0300, Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> On Wed, May 2, 2012 at 9:59 AM, Ryosuke Niwa <rniwa at webkit.org> wrote:
> > Great. I think the tricky part will be defining exactly how and when the
> > placeholder is displayed.
> >
> > e.g. Should it be treated as if there is a text node in the editable
> > element? Should we ignore things like "<br>" or collapsible spaces when
> > determining whether the element is empty or not?
> Currently the spec isn't clear about this for <input>, so I don't
> think it needs to specify exactly for <textarea> or contenteditable
> either.  It can be left as a UI decision.  As far as QoI goes, I think
> you'd want to display it as long as there's no visible text or images
> or things.  <p><br></p> should still display the placeholder, and
> probably so should <p><font color=red><br></font></p>, etc.  As long
> as there's no text (or <img>, etc.) that's visible to the user -- if
> it *looks* empty, the placeholder should display.

I think that what you describe may hide state from the user (e.g., hides
the style that will apply) and limits which positions you can point at
with the mouse.

A better alternative is that <p><br></p> displays a character that holds
the position of the <br> and indicates its presence.  You could use a
return symbol, ⏎, or interpunct, ·, for the purpose.  In the example
<p><font color=red><br></font></p>, color that character red.


David Young
dyoung at pobox.com    Urbana, IL    (217) 721-9981

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