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Re: [svg-developers] Re: SVG Widgets vs Native Widgets

From: Jon Ferraiolo <jferraio@adobe.com>
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2003 17:19:25 -0700
To: svg-developers@yahoogroups.com
Cc: www-svg@w3.org
Message-id: <>
This is a very good example of why you *sometimes* want UI controls such as 
popup menus to use native platforms facilities. (Kurt sent an email 
explaining why other times you don't want native widgets.) In some cases, 
as you point out, not only do you need the native look, but you all need 
the native behavior. It would take a lot of JavaScript to simulate all 
possible look&feel combinations.

Unfortunately, in some environments, native UI controls are only feasible 
when your web page is both highly constrained (e.g., all widgets must be 
upright and on top) and with flexible layout (because you don't know at 
author time the dimensions of native widgets). SVG goes against both the 
upright constraint (e.g., with SVG, you can rotate anything, including 
widgets) and the flexible layout requirement (with SVG, most things are 
absolutely positioned and sized).

The SVG Working Group recognizes both the high desirability and the 
technical difficulty of allowing native widgets within SVG. For now, the 
Working Group is postponing work on the native widget issue because we have 
plenty on our plate already, and it seems like we will have to figure out 
how to add dynamic layout to SVG in order to make native widgets work. 
Maybe the answer requires something like a combined HTML+SVG facility where 
the HTML sometimes plays in an upright window, and only in the upright HTML 
window would you have native widgets.

Jon Ferraiolo
Adobe Systems, Inc.
Member SVG Working Group

At 04:49 PM 10/7/2003 -0600, Gavin Kistner wrote:
>One additional argument for why system-level controls are needed.
>Consider a drop-down menu (<select>) of US state abbreviations, like:
>       AK
>       AL
>       AR
>       AS
>       AZ
>       ...
>On Windows, focusing such a select and desiring to select "AS" through
>the keyboard, the user keeps pressing "A" until AS appears.
>"AAAA"=="AS". (And you don't even know how close you are...you just
>have to keep watching each one change until you see the right one.)
>Ludicrous, but that's how it works.
>On MacOS, you type "AS". Boom, done. Logical.
>If I wrote my own <select> widget and put in this keyboard feature,
>what would I do? I'd choose the MacOS way. And then the Windows users
>would keep pressing "A" and only getting AK, and wondering why it
>doesn't work. If I choose the Windows way (the majority must be right)
>then all the MacOS users would type "AS" and get "SC", and be really
>I have no idea what various Linux front-ends or BeOS or AmigaOS do. Do
>There are many little difference like this from OS to OS. I accept that
>some people want to make funky cool interfaces with new exciting
>functionality. I accept that for others the point of their SVG
>interface is not usability, but exploration. Please accept that SVG
>also needs an integral way to hook into OS-specific widgets, for those
>SVG applications where usability is key.
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Received on Tuesday, 7 October 2003 20:24:18 UTC

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