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An heresy about labels for XForms 1.2

From: Leigh L Klotz Jr <leigh.klotz@xerox.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:58:39 -0800
Message-ID: <4D376C9F.5010601@xerox.com>
To: public-forms@w3.org
For a number of years, I've struggled and watched others struggle using 
CSS to control XForms layout.

By all rights, XForms and CSS should be easier to lay out than HTML4 
forms, but even making allowances for the lack of CSS3 pseudo-property 
and pseudo-element support, and even after the Venice Accord proclaiming 
standard CSS class names for XForms elements and model item property 
states, it's remains a difficult task to control the layout of form 
controls and labels.

XForms has a strong connection between a form control and its label, and 
for A11Y reasons not only requires labels, but captures the connection 
between them by hierarchy: a label is contained immediately within the 
control it labels.

Unfortunately, this container-ship, and more importantly the document 
order, makes it much more difficult to lay out XForms labels on the page 
than it is to lay out HTML4 forms and their labels.

HTML4 provides a nod to A11Y by giving label an attribute "for" which is 
the ID of the form control to which it corresponds.

I'd like to suggest we experiment with this same mechanism: require form 
controls to have labels, but allow the label to be id-linked with 
label/@for instead of required by a schema expressing a required child 
element.  Of course, we'd need to specify the id-resolution rules in 
repeat as the same as setfocus/@control.  More importantly, we'd need to 
tell implementors that MIP properties such as readonly and required and 
relevant must apply to the label/@for a control just as if the label 
were contained lexically within the form control.

In result, we would still retain the A11Y features of HTML4 forms, and 
make it easier to author XHTML+XForms for today's authors, while still 
allowing all existing XForms input/label structure.  XForms 1.0 
processors would likely even process the label/@for mostly correctly, 
except for the propagation of MIP states.

What do others think about my heresy?

Leigh.
Received on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 22:59:16 UTC

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