Firefox/Feature Brainstorming:Form handling and text areas

From MozillaWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

« Firefox/Feature Brainstorming

File upload form elements

Provide an easy way of clearing a pre-filled file browse element. It's a problem on forums and message boards in particular where you have an optional file element. Select a file by mistake (or use the back button and have it filled with something you've just uploaded) and your only option is to reload the page (and clearing the cache in some cases). Perhaps give it a right click menu with a clear/delete option? Abigsmurf 18:11, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

This is filed as bug 431098 --MattN 03:51, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Text input field navigation improvements

  • Allow {TAB}-key navigating 'through input fields only'. Pressing the {TAB}-key lets today's Firefox annoyingly jump to the next hyperlink (!) and option button (!), too, so that it often takes very long to select the next text input field (including the web adress bar and search bar). Hyperlinks and option buttons etc. can be used easier by mouseclicking, but input form fields could be selected faster by {TAB} and {SHIFT}-{TAB}. - Gutzndaifi 09:14, 25 October 2007 (PDT)
  • Maybe this can be integrated into an add-on like 'Highlight Focus' by Rudolf Noe, located at [1] etc., but it would be much better to implement it 'as standard'. - Gutzndaifi 09:14, 25 October 2007 (PDT)
  • On Firefox for the Mac, allow (TAB)-key navigating between other types of objects in a form. Currently, pressing TAB only navigates between text fields. Please add the ability to navigate to combo boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, buttons, etc. -JK 30 March, 2008
  • I love the idea of separate tab queues for forms, links, images, i dunno what else. Forms and links are the two biggies IMHO. This is the only feature the keeps Opera installed on my box. Please Please Please may we have it? :) -CD 23 May, 2008
  • Many pages will automatically place the text cursor in a particular text box only after a given percentage of the page has loaded (for example, Gmail places the cursor in the username field). However, one can manually begin information in whatever field before this occurs by clicking on that field. It is frustrating when, in the middle of typing something, the cursor is automatically relocated. Mozilla should include a feature whereby the manual placement of the cursor overrides the auto-placement.

Caution User when about to lose form data to the back button

  • When the back button is pressed (or backspace on the keyboard accidentaly pressed), and some form element on the page has been edited but not submitted, display a dialog telling the user they are about to lose what they typed. The dialog could of course have a checkbox marked do not show this message again.

There is nothing more aggravating than losing a long post because you thought that a text field had focus. This way,

Web Forms 2.0 implementation

  • Allow using of the extended forms. See the standard made by whatwg, which is located at [2]
  • Opera browser partially supports it, you can see how useful it can be in FireFox

External editing of text boxes

  • Allow an external editor (vim, emacs, textpad, etc) to edit text in form text boxes
  • Currently supported by plug-ins, but only on some platforms; should be available everywhere
  • Make it embedded in the place of the textarea, without opening another window. Otherwise it would be cumbersome and confusing to keep track of.
  • As more and more apps move towards web services, the ability to effectively edit large blocks of text (wikis, blogs, forums, webmail) becomes more and more critical.
  • Include ability to save/restore the text box contents.
  • Provide a key binding and also bind to right-click/Edit in text areas.
    • No, this should be in the form of plugins because it isn't possible to make firefox recognize every text-editing program by default. --Armaetin 15:49, 13 February 2007 (PST)

Full featured editing of text areas

Much writing nowadays is done in text areas: wikis, blogs, forums, webmail. Text areas need full featured editing support:

  • Unlimited undo/redo.
  • Regular expression search and replace.
  • Improve spell checking by switching from MySpell to the far-superior HunSpell (this is a direct descendant of MySpell and is the spell checking system now used by new versions of Open Office). There's a list of all the improvements in bug 319778. This may also allow us to ship some dictionaries other than En-US in our localized builds (e.g. Hungarian).
  • Grammar checking functionality similar to Spell checking (Grammar mistakes is just as prolific an bad spelling)
  • The ability of checking multiple languages in a textarea simultaneously.
  • Configurable shortcuts and macros.
  • Allow easy saving of text area contents on the local machine.
  • Automatic safety saves, so that the contents of a text area are never lost.
  • Allow resizing of text areas, and splitting into two views.
See also
Life in a TEXTAREA by Adam Rifkin


Enhanced the TEXTAREA tag to provide a WYSIWYG editor that generates HTML code. How many different Javascript, ActiveX, Applet and AJAX solutions exist for this problem? How many of them actually work? None. Let's fix this problem once and do it right. Imagine:

<textarea id="foo" type="wysiwyg"> </textarea>

The user would see a text box with WYSIWYG editing controls. When the form submits, the field would contain HTML code for the user's content. Other browsers would ignore the new flag and display a standard TEXTAREA.

EVERYONE needs this, including this Wiki.

However we would be breaking the standards, wouldn't we? And i think we shouldn't be trying to do W3C's job.
  • This should act like div element with contenteditable attribute. DOM content should be acessibile and execCommand should work. --Ziga 15:49, 13 February 2007

Use mouse wheel to modify the values

When I'm hovering textarea with number/date and scroll my mouse up/down it should increase/decrease the value.

  • This should be optional for those who don't want to accidentally change values when scrolling up or down a page. --Armaetin 15:49, 13 February 2007 (PST)
  • This is not usable, because the scroll wheel is used for scrolling the page, as the previous reply said. -Pgan002 18:20, 27 March 2007 (PDT)

Automatically restore form with text values filled in if submit fails

After filling in a long email, blog entry etc. and submitting the form, if the subsequent page fails to load (eg because the Internet connection was lost when you were typing, or because of a temporary problem with page), instead of just showing an error message Firefox should give the user the option to either:

  • attempt to submit the data again


  • return to the previous page with all form items filled in (loaded from offline cache in case Internet connection is still down)


  • provide a separate page or a tab in Page info where the contents of forms that are sent last are shown.

There should definitely be some way to recover data that has been typed into a form and then lost. Cache everything typed into forms, make it available on an about:textareas page or something, so we can recover our ten minutes of typing even if the page crashes, changes, gets logged out, etc. and Firefox can't figure out how to re-fill it.

Autofill forms

  • Like Opera's Wand or Google's Autofill in the Google Toolbar.
  • Have an option to fill in your name, address and other information necessary for many websites into Firefox so that when filling out forms you can click a button that 'autofills' them for you.
  • Like Internet Explorer - it is best way.
  • With Firefox 2, login form fields are only filled in with the login information stored in password manager after loading of the entire page has completed. However, form fields (in particular for login) should be rendered before any other elements on a page, because often all you want to do on a login page is ... to log in. But instead, rendering of a login page often hangs because billions of annoying ad servers take forever to reply to client requests. Rendering (login) forms and filling in the login information first would allow for immediate login, without having to wait until rendering of the whole page is complete -- also contributing to save bandwith, as requests to the billions of annoying ad servers would not be send, or at least cancelled immediately.
  • Allow for check boxes to be filled based on the box being highlighted. So that if 10 check boxes are highlighted, you can fill them all in in one task not ten individual button clicks.

User-created spell check blacklist

  • Allow users to specify sites that should not have their text areas spell checked (i.e. sites with HTML editing text areas)

Submit form to new tab/window

  • Allow users to submit form buttons to a new tab/window
  • Submit To Tab Extension by nrlz
  • Bug17754 Ability to submit form in a new window / tab

'Minor' Edit made; _(-)(Ø)_ 21:44, 29 December 2007 (PST)▼
Apparently, context Menu Items like these aren't a big deal; at least not to the developers who are supposed to implement them, to my awareness thereof. Which is probably Why the Context Menu Item "View Image in New Tab" Option(amongst many other context menu Items mind you) is, Strangely, absent from the context Menu of Images(and to other respective/relevant objects as well) :O. That, or they just forgot about conveniences like that and need to be, reminded ;), ;).

But I second the notion you've stated for a "Submit in New Window" and "Submit in New Tab" Context menu Item to be added to form like JavaScript based(?) Buttons as I to feel that it was, shall I say, "Left to be desired" :).

Please remove my input herein, if need be so. ▲

Change the way the spell checker highlights the misspelled words

User interface consistency is important. I think misspelled words should be underlined with a red zigzag line, much like it's done on all modern text processors, instead of the current dotted line.

[added:stk 10-mar-07] I concur that changing the way the spell checker highlights misspelled words would be a good thing. (Been trying to hack a way, but unsuccessful, so far).

1px dotted red is just a tad too difficult for these old (48ish) eyes to see. Been looking for a way to change text color (magenta, like google-spell does) ... or bg color ... SOMETHING more prominent.

Which leads to another idea - make such behaviors user-set-able in some advanced behaviors tab (including option to point to other user-defined, specialty dictionaries - e.g., Word custom.dic, etc.)?

  • I also agree that the spellchecker's highlighting should be changed, although that isn't as high of a priority as many of the other excellent features Firefox still needs. I also agree that the spellchecker's color should be changed to the will of the user, even though I already like red because it parallels with that of MS Word's. By the way, stk, advanced user preferences can be accessed by typing about:config in the address bar, and dictionaries are "stored" in a file named persdict.dat. --Armaetin 11:39, 10 March 2007 (PST)

Automatically pad text area with blank lines

When I am reading a long article, paging down, it is annoying to reach the last page only to find that it is shorter than all the other pages and now my place is lost somewhere in the middle of the screen. I have to hunt for where I left off. I could solve this using the mouse to scroll, and sometimes I do, but I find that more burdensome than just hitting page down. This behavior has existed since the earliest days of the web. It seems to me the easiest way to fix it is for the browser to position the last line of the current page as the first line of the next, no matter what, and fill the rest of the window as needed with blank space. Since I spend most of my web time reading text, consistent text positioning would be a major usability enhancement for me.

'minor' edit made; _(-)(Ø)_ 21:57, 29 December 2007 (PST)▼ You know what'd be a sweet Idea?
# 13 of my list: Memory Markers of some sorts that you can "place" on the page so that when you go down or up the page, right click off the scrollbar and input a # or something, it would send you to the corresponding part of the page. Maybe a Context Menu Item that states something along the lines of "Place memory marker on this currently displayed position" with extra Context Items added to the list and set as Numbers so you can seamlessly scroll anywhere on the current page. I haven't fully gone into the details of its implementation but I'll work on it when I get the proper inspiration.

Thanks however for your proposal as I often wondered if anyone else had the same Idea ;).

Please remove my input herein, if need be so. ▲

Drag and dropping files into textboxes

  • Allow users to drag and drop a local text/HTML file into a text box to insert the content of the file instead of its path.

Thesaurus and Form Information Spell Check

There should be a submenu (similarly to the "Language" submenu) that lists the synonym of the right-clicked word.

  • A submenu for antonyms, as per the synonyms in the previous bullet.
  • An easier way to edit and update Firefox's dictionary without manually going into persdict.dat.
  • Grammar Check

Clipboard: A Modified Copy/Paste Functionality

What a clipboard would do:

  • Firefox should add all objects we copy into a clipboard.
  • The clipboard is accessible via a sidebar.
  • Double-clicking an entry on the clipboard pastes the item, if appropriate.
  • The clipboard is cleared after every session.
  • A user can "merge" items on the clipboard. What this means is that a user can select multiple items on the clipboard (the same way multiple icons are selected on a desktop: using the Ctrl/Cmd key) and consolidate them into one item. This is for simplicity purposes, ie a user wants to paste everything on Firefox's clipboard into an external application.


  • Ideally, a clipboard should hold as many entries as possible.
  • Unlike the floating clipboard in Microsoft Office programs, the clipboard should behave as a sidebar or toolbar.
  • The clipboard does not affect copy and paste in any way. It merely pastes all instances of copying into its memory. Pasting an item from the clipboard merely copies the item from the history and pastes it, as if the user did it manually.
  • The order of the items on a clipboard can be sorted via up/down buttons.

'Minor edit' made _(-)(Ø)_ 22:13, 29 December 2007 (PST)▼ You know, on KDE we have this thing called Klipper. It is shear Awesomeness! It is, or can be, almost as your description depicts. Except, its a Tray Icon instead of a sidebar. I don't think a sidebar would be very, space friendly, you know? Floating clipboard provide ease of access and is space considerate. I think the problem would be, as I am assuming, that it would get in the way of the cursor sometimes. I don't see why we can't have it as, a Sidebar, Toolbar, and Float. Just Position it to the right or left pane for sidebar preference, Up near the top for Toolbar preferences, and anywhere in between for floating preferences with context options for displaying said clipboard as such.

Still that would be a good thing to have when you want to download many specific things from a page while Browsing using Firefox :).
Please remove my input herein, if need be so.▲

Allow specified textareas to expand with the size of the window

When editing large text, such as email, wiki, code and others, it is convenient to have the as large as possible an area to view it through. But when the browser window itself is too small, you end up with two horizontal and/or two vertical scrollbars. It wold be great if some specified text areas and text boxes could expand and contract with the size of the window.

  • I agree, and I also think Firefox should give users the option of having the ability to manually set how large certain fields are. --Armaetin 22:57, 22 January 2007 (PST)


Microsoft Word automatically corrects commonly misspelled words (ie, changing "teh" to "the"). Perhaps Firefox should do the same:

  • The undo command (Ctrl+Z) would undo an auto-correct, if the user had intended to spell the word incorrectly.
  • There would be an auto-correction dictionary (separate from the current dictionary) in which users can place their own entries on what Firefox auto-corrects and remove some of Firefox's default auto-correction entries (if, for example, "teh" was actually a word in that user's regular vocabulary and that user does not like how Firefox keeps changing "teh" into "the").

Record and Play Macros

Some forms require clicking a series of routine "submit" buttons. Some of the button-clicking has to do with accepting security certificates. It's good that Firefox can remember the user IDs and passwords. It'd be better if Firefox allows us to "record" the sequence of button clicking as a macro files, and allows us (end users, not Web masters) to replay those macro files with a single click of a button.

--Paulmackinlay 04:42, 25 May 2007 (PDT) This feature would be very useful and can be extended further to be even more useful. If the macros could be saved, categorised, edited this could form the basis of a powerful web testing suite. Firefox has always had great web-app developer aids and this would be certainly one of the most useful since it could be used to generate test suites which would be fully automated functional tests. It would ensure the web-app it behaving as expected with the current version of gecko and rhino.

Assertions would need to be made available, which would indicate if a test passes or fails. It would also be useful to modify parameters such as domain name and port so that the same tests can be executed on more than one environment.

Actually, there is a great piece of software called Badboy[3] which does something similar, it has a lot of excellent features. Unfortunately it is only available for a specific OS and becuase it is not portable I can't use it. I appreciate that web-app testing is probably beyond the scope of core Firefox but maybe a seperate component/plug that does this could be considered.

Glest 03:19, 19 February 2008 (PST) I don't really like the idea of building a macro system in a browser. It would make it very easy to spam forms. I know it's already easy, but atleast there is no standard browser function called "Spam form".

Searchable button labels

Make button labels searchable, so that you can text search (for example) this page for "Search" and have the cursor on the "Search" button at the top. This would help with navigation, especially in large webpages. First, like text search in general, it allows the focus to be positioned directly without using a pointing device, which is often faster. Second, there is often a specific button or function (such as search) which users want to use and have to scroll through the page and look for it manually. -Pgan002 15:07, 8 May 2007 (PDT)

Easy clearing of bad completions

Add an "X" button to the end of each line in the completion list that removes the entry. This would allow you to get rid of accidental typos in previous forms that will pop up (without having to clear ALL the form completion data.) -EricBayer 22:10, 3 July 2007

  • I think this should be optional because it might be aesthetically displeasing to some. I am assuming Mr. EricBayer is unaware that he can get rid of saved form entries using Shift+Delete? --Armaetin 22:48, 3 July 2007 (PDT)

Remember chosen language for every text area on every page

For polyglot users, the Spell Checker loses much of its appeal, because you must manually switch the language every time you switch between languages.

If the checker simply remembered the language I chose for each web page and on a second level for each text area on that web page (probably hard to impossible), it would greatly simplify writing for polyglot users. So, if I write on English wikipedia it first checks which language header the web site sent and if I don't agree with that setting, I can choose my own - maybe British English, even though Wikipedia sends US-English headers - and the checker will remember my choice, when I revisit the page.

Another idea would be auto-recognition and multiple languages, but that's not too easy I guess, especially if the detection is based on the users misspellings. I don't know whether there already is some sort of JS-Handler, but if web sites could tamper with Firefoxes Spell checker, they could suggest the right language right away - and annoy users a lot if they have bad intentions, of course. --Rubenarslan 09:11, 4 November 2007 (PST)