Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

On form libraries / JS fallback

I'm actually pretty lazy when it comes to Javascript fallback. This perhaps is a personal failure. But as an example of how I would deal with date inputs, I'd just throw this in: <input type="date">. Let the Javascript figure that out (which is easy enough). If the Javascript doesn't figure it out, you get a text input and rely on server-side validation. A "fancier" system just knows you don't have Javascript date inputs, and it falls back on select boxes. Which probably don't make anyone any happier than the text box, but somehow it feels like you are trying hard instead of being lazy.

In other cases, like repeating elements, handling that server-side makes my head hurt. It can be done, yes, but it's going to hurt. You'll have to take control from the normal controller and do lots of fancy things behind the scenes. The alternative is not writing the form anything like that, and forcing another half-dozen clicks by the user to do the same thing. That's not a compromise I get excited about either.

I'm not sure exactly why you should make forms that are usable by people without Javascript. I don't think it's accessibility -- I believe "accessible" browsers also interpret Javascript. How well, I'm not sure, but I don't get the impression they really feel like Lynx. If it's to make your site accessible to the Googlebot, well I don't really care about forms. If it's because some people are just stubborn and turn off Javascript, eh. I'm not sure it's worth it.

Comment on Re: On form libraries
by Ian Bicking

Comments:

"I'm not sure exactly why you should make forms that are usable by people without Javascript."

Strong words, and quite shocking in certain ways, too. Many of the JavaScript-only Web applications I've seen aren't likely to be very accessible, and what about people disabling JavaScript for security or usability reasons? To me, JavaScript (and AJAX, which is where a lot of the JavaScript goes these days) is a bonus for those who want a bonus, not a minimum requirement that excludes a number of people for reasons not fully considered by the developer.

# Paul Boddie

Many of the JavaScript-only Web applications I've seen aren't likely to be very accessible

That doesn't mean that you need to bar Javascript in order to be accessible.

and what about people disabling JavaScript for security or usability reasons?

I don't think that makes any sense in the modern web. I don't see any reason to aggressively make things harder for these people, and lots of things should work without problem, but I don't think that's a user choice that I'm going to work to support. There's lots of choices users can make, I can't account for all of them.

# Ian Bicking