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FORM, text input, Enter and Submit...

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 16:10:27 +0100 (BST)
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980620155146.7651B-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>

For a very long time now, and across a wide range of browsers, it
seems to have been the case that if there is no more than one "INPUT
TYPE=TEXT" field, then hitting Enter (return) will cause the form to
be submitted, whereas if there is more than one such field, submission
can only be done by using the Submit button/widget.

I had a rather long-standing page on this topic:

and that behaviour seemed eminently reasonable, in as much as it
facilitates the submission of simple forms, while limiting the risk,
when the form is more complex, of a partially-completed form being
submitted by accident, bearing in mind that a user is quite likely to
hit "enter" when inputting some text to a field. 

However, it's just been called to my attention that what I say there
is untrue of MSIE4, although it was true of, at least, Windows MSIE3.

After some tests of Windows MSIE4, I have had to conclude that hitting
Enter within an INPUT TYPE=TEXT will _always_ submit the form, even
when the form has several INPUT TYPE=TEXT areas and/or several SUBMIT
buttons; I found nothing that I could do in HTML alone that would
prevent it.

To me, this seems to be an accessibility issue, even if there's
nothing that I can find in the HTML4.0 specification to say that this
behaviour is wrong.

I've done some searches on likely terms, and found several previous
discussions in various forums, which confirmed that MSIE4 behaves in
the way I just described; none of them seemed to indicate any way to
inhibit this behaviour.

Does anyone know more about this issue or can point me to some
relevant discussions or resource about it?

Received on Saturday, 20 June 1998 11:10:12 UTC

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