[uf-new] A search form microformat?

Mr. Meitar Moscovitz meitarm at gmail.com
Fri Jan 16 18:17:57 PST 2009

On Jan 17, 2009, at 4:41 AM, Ryan King wrote:

> On Jan 16, 2009, at 6:07 AM, Mr. Meitar Moscovitz wrote:
>> ...
>> In all typical cases, an HTML form element exists on the home pages  
>> of these sites that provides search functionality. However, in a  
>> typical web page, there are many forms, including email  
>> subscription forms, comment forms, and so forth. It would therefore  
>> be beneficial if these forms used standardized semantics such as a  
>> microformat that indicated what kind of functionality they provide.  
>> This way, user agents of various types, e.g., mobile web browsers,  
>> can provide simple yet consistent UI's for such specific  
>> functionality.
>> So…the above (and more) are my preliminary thoughts on this topic.  
>> What are yours?
> This is already covered by HTML5:
>  http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#text-state-and-search- 
> state
> -ryan

Hi Ryan,

Apologies on the long email before—it may have not been clear enough.

Though HTML5 does offer a <input type="search">, that fact alone  
doesn't specify what the form in which this input element is specified  
searches. If I understand correctly, It merely indicates that the form  
field itself is "a search field," and so it must adhere to certain  
sanitization behaviors and so forth. This is helpful, but by itself  
still doesn't tell me what the form will search—the site I'm on? All  
of it or a specific section? A site somewhere else?

In the case of a user agent like Mosembro, just trying to find the  
first <input type="search"> element isn't enough to identify the form  
field to link up to its browser chrome, for example. Trying to find a  
combination of <form action="http://the-current-site.tld…"> and the  
aforementioned input element might get one closer, but doesn't solve  
the case where there are multiple search forms on a single site, such  
as the My Yahoo! portal page.

So the idea is that the semantics of the form as a whole need to be  
able to aim such tools to particular forms. While Yahoo! and Google's  
search APIs are well known, smaller site's often aren't. Each of the  
three examples I talked about so far (the two search engines and a  
WordPress site), each use different indicators for the HTML that  
defines their forms. Making those consistent isn't what the HTML5 spec  
is talking about, unless of course I'm misunderstanding the part of  
the HTML5 you've linked me to, in which case I'd appreciate the  
edification. :)

-Meitar Moscovitz
Personal: http://maymay.net
Professional: http://MeitarMoscovitz.com

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