[whatwg] input type=barcode?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Sep 6 21:35:05 PDT 2012

On Mon, 27 Aug 2012, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > On Wed, 3 Aug 2011, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> >> On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 8:50 AM, Randy <randy at prowebdesign.nl> wrote:
> >> > On top of that, the vast majority of these readers just translate 
> >> > it back to text. It's just another input "device", as barcodes are 
> >> > fixed (and sometimes standardized) fonts.
> >>
> >> True, so this is perhaps closer to an IME hint, as has been suggested 
> >> for a couple of other input types.
> >
> > Do you mean something like inputmode=barcode? Can you elaborate on how 
> > that would work? It's an intriguing idea, but I'm not sure I follow 
> > quite how to specify it.
> Yes, something like that.  In terms of the table in the spec:
> Keyword: barcode
> State: Barcode
> Fallback State: Default
> Description: Text input in the user's locale, with keys to activate
> the system's built-in barcode reader to retrieve a value instead.

I think that makes sense.

On Thu, 30 Aug 2012, Jonas Sicking wrote:
> I think while in theory we could rely on UAs to enable barcode entry 
> anywhere, which definitely would provide the maximum capabilities for 
> the user. In practice it seems hard to create UI which enables that 
> while at the same time isn't annoyingly shoving a barcode button in your 
> face which you generally is not interested in using.

Agreed. I think a UA that wanted to support this would want to know which 
attributes to provide the feature for.

In this respect it's similar to the WebKit-proprietary x-webkit-speech 
attribute on <input>. In fact, this suggests that if other browsers are 
interested in supporting speech input, maybe we should standardise it as 
an inputmode value, e.g. inputmode="speech". Possible the inputmode="" 
attribute in that case could be switched to a list of tokens, so you could 
in fact do inputmode="latin-prose speech" or inputmode="numeric barcode" 
in order to provide the user agent with more flexibility in the UI.

> That said, I'm not sure that barcode entry is a commonly enough used 
> feature that we need to have support for it in HTML. Is anyone actually 
> interested in implementing barcode support at this time, whether we add 
> an inputmode or not.

I agree. Until there is interest from a browser vendor ready to implement, 
or Web pages that are doing it themselves via getUserMedia(), we should 
probably not bother to add these features.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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