It’s not the ComboBox’s fault

Weiqi Gao complains that combo boxes are lame because you can’t type in them. He gives a good example of the state abbrevation MO for Missouri; in a typical drop-down list of US states, you need to go through seven M’s to get there.

Don’t blame the combobox for this guys; blame Microsoft. In their infinite wisdom, they decided not to allow the combobox control used in IE to support this behaviour. You see it everywhere throughout the rest of Windows, but not in IE pages (though you do see it in the address bar).

Every other browser picked up the same behaviour. (It turns out that recent builds of FireFox do it right, now)

(And yes, I know Netscape was around before IE, and Mosaic before that; but they didn’t support it because the windowing kits didn’t. Windows, however, does)

Weiqi Gao is right: not being able to type into comboboxes is really really lame. But don’t blame the guy who authored the page; the fault lies back with the browser authors instead.

Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 20 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 22 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

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