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Composition, IME, etc. (was: contentEditable=minimal)

From: Robin Berjon <robin@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2014 16:24:21 +0200
Message-ID: <5391CF15.4000203@w3.org>
To: Ryosuke Niwa <rniwa@apple.com>
CC: "public-webapps@w3.org" <public-webapps@w3.org>
On 05/06/2014 09:09 , Ryosuke Niwa wrote:
> On May 23, 2014, at 1:37 PM, Robin Berjon <robin@w3.org> wrote:
>> Semantically, autocorrect and compositing really are the same
>> thing.
> They are not.  Word substations and input method compositions are
> semantically different operations.

Ok, I'll accept that depending on the level of abstraction at which 
you're looking at the problem they may or may not be the same thing.

The core of the problem is this: there is a wide array of situations in 
which some form of "indirect text input" (deliberately going for a new 
term with no baggage) takes place. This includes (but is not limited to):

    dead key composition (Alt-N, N -> )
    assumed international composition (',e -> , if you just want an 
apostrophe you have to compose ',space)
    inline composition for pretty much everything
    popup composition
    speed-typing input (T9, swiping inputs)

In order to handle them you have two basic options:

   a) Let the browser handle them for you (possibly calling up some 
platform functionality). This works as closely to user expectations as a 
Web app can hope to get but how do you render it? If it touches your DOM 
then you lose the indirection you need for sensible editing; if it 
doesn't I don't know how you show it.

   b) Provide the app with enough information to do the right thing. 
This gives you the indirection, but "doing the right thing" can be 
pretty hard.

I am still leaning towards (b) being the approach to follow, but I'll 
admit that that's mostly because I can't see how to make (a) actually 
work. If (b) is the way, then we need to make sure that it's not so hard 
that everyone gets it wrong as soon as the input is anything other than 
basic English.

>> Note that if there is a degree of refinement such that we may want
>> to make it possible for authors to style compositing-for-characters
>> and compositing-for-autocorrect, then that ought to go into the
>> styling system.
> In older versions of Windows, for example, the browser itself can't
> figure out what kind of style is used by IME.  Korean and Japanese
> IME on Windows, for example, use bolded lines and dotted lines for
> opposite purposes.  And we get bug reports saying that WebKit's
> rendering for Korean IME is incorrect because we decided to follow
> Japanese IME's convention.

Right. In this case we need to distinguish between the browser not 
knowing and the Web app not knowing.

If the browser doesn't know because the platform can't tell the 
difference between Korean and Japanese (a problem with which Unicode 
doesn't help) then there really isn't much that we can do to help the 
Web app.

However if the browser knows, it can provide the app with information. I 
don't have enough expertise to know how much information it needs to 
convey  if it's mostly style that can be done (it might be unwieldy to 
handle but we can look at it).

>> We /could/ consider adding a field to compositing events that would
>> capture some form of ontology of input systems. But I think that's
>> sort of far-fetched and we can get by with the above. (And yes, I'm
>> using "ontology" on purpose. It wouldn't look good :)
> In my opinion, it's a requirement that input methods work and look
> native on editors that use this new API.  IME is not a nice-to-have
> feature.  It's a feature required for billions of people to type any
> text.

That is *exactly* my point. At this point I believe that if we just 
added something like a compositionType = deadkey | kr | jp | t9 | 
autocorrect | ... field and leave it at that we're not helping anyone. 
The script will need to know not just how to render all of these but how 
they are supposed to look on each platform. That's why I am arguing for 
primitives that enable the script to do the right thing *without* having 
to know everything about all the possible IMEs.

Having said that, I was initially hoping that a mixture of composition 
events plus IME API would cover a lot of ground already. Thinking about 
it some more, it's not enough.

Can you help me come up with a list of aspects that need to be captured 
in order to enable the app to render the right UI? Or do you have 
another proposal?

Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/ - @robinberjon
Received on Friday, 6 June 2014 14:24:31 UTC

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