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[Bug 16564] The directionality of a textarea should be determined based on its parent if its value does not have any strong characters

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 08:14:25 +0000
To: public-i18n-bidi@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-16564-3860-n1Dc9B6E9o@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

--- Comment #12 from Aharon Lanin <aharon.lists.lanin@gmail.com> ---
(In reply to comment #10)

Repeating my reply to Ian's comment on that bug:

> The directionality of <textarea> basically determines only the
> directionality sent in form submission (if dirname="" is given) and the
> directionality of the title="" tooltip and placeholder="" message.

It also determines the direction style, and through that affects things like
the side on which the caret appears in an empty <textarea> (as specified for
unicode-bidi:plaintext), as well as the side on which its scrollbar and its
resizing control appear (these are not part of any spec, but it is what
browsers do). It is those effects that prompted this bug to be filed.

> I'm fine with defaulting to inherited if the element is strictly empty, but
> then shouldn't we also do that for regular elements with dir=auto?

In my current opinion (this differs from what I expressed earlier), defaulting
the directionality of a <textarea> or <input> with dir=auto to be inherited
when its value is empty will usually result in a better user experience when
the element appears in an RTL context:
- The caret would appear on the right, which is better (i.e. does not result in
a caret jump) when the user goes on to enter RTL text, which is presumably the
more common case in an RTL page.
- The scrollbar would appear on the left. This, once again, is better
(scrollbar does not jump) in the more common case that the user goes on to
enter RTL text.
- The resize control would appear on the left, which usually (but not always)
makes it work better. Noite, however, that this is browser-dependent and
subject to change.

The same considerations probably apply to a contentEditable element with

For dir=auto elements that do not allow user input (i.e. neither
contentEditable nor <textarea> nor <input>), inheriting directionality when the
content to which the first-strong algorithm is to be applied is empty also
seems to be somewhat better. The use case there would be something like the
chat example at the bottom of
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/dom.html#the-dir-attribute. When a
chat entry is empty, it would be best to display the chatter's name on the
start side relative to the page. It's not a biggie by any means, but it's a

So, bottom line, I agree.

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Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 08:14:26 UTC

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