[whatwg] Re: several messages

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Mon, 7 Feb 2005, Matthew Raymond wrote:
>>First of all, you need to apologize to Christoph for your sarcastic tone.
> Apologies.

   Thank you.

>>Second, you missed what he's trying to say. He's saying that people use 
>>the three select solution not because it's more usable, but because it's 
>>a pain to deal with input from a textbox.
> I disagree with the assertion that text input is more accessible and 
> usable than three <select>s. Indeed, if it was, I wouldn't be worried 
> about the fact that type="date" has poor fallback, since by that argument 
> it would in fact have good fallback.

    Not really. Three selects eliminates date formatting and parsing 
from the equation. That's why webmasters like it. It means that they 
don't have to think about how to handle the date input and the user 
doesn't have to know how to type the date in properly. It's a system 
with fewer points of failure.

> A simple text box is IMHO hard to use because, without a suggested format, 
> the user has no guidance as to what to enter.

    The vast majority of people using text boxes for date input provide 
formatting hints.

 > Since users have been
> conditioned to only provide data in the Correct Format, the user is more 
> likely to be confused by an empty text field than by three clear drop-down 
> widgets containing what are obviously days, months and years.

    This can be true under specific circumstances. It is not true for a 
date picker, which can use built-in browser format parsing (or enforce a 
native date format) and provide optional calendar selection. So you a 
date control give you both improved reliability and improved usability. 
It can even provide you with a combination of drop-down lists and text 
entry, if the user agent vendor so chooses.

> Handling free-form input for dates isn't that hard if you are willing to 
> reject anything that doesn't match a given format. You can even suggest 
> one format and accept a number of other popular formats, assuming that you 
> only accept unambiguous formats.

    Which, in the case of <input type="date">, requires more scripting 
than a legacy text box because you have to not only code for the 
different formats but you have to have scripting that implants 
formatting hints into the DOM.

> It is extremely hard to do, however, if you are not willing to reject 
> data, since then you have to be able to determine the meaning of dates 
> like 05-02-07 (this is an actual date).

    Which is exactly why you need formatting hints.

Received on Tuesday, 8 February 2005 05:30:55 UTC