Closed Bug 265233 Opened 18 years ago Closed 14 years ago
interface idea for form auto-complete and auto-restore
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; rv:1.7.3) Gecko/20040913 Firefox/0.10.1 Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; rv:1.7.3) Gecko/20040913 Firefox/0.10.1 Hi, People write some lengthy and considered things into web forms. For example, email messages, wiki entries, and bug reports. This data should almost never be lost. Currently data can be lost if the browser quits before the user presses submit (e.g. user closes the wrong window, the battery goes flat, or they press backspace with the wrong focus [bug 262905]). Data can also be lost after the user presses submit depending on the web application. The workaround is to use notepad, and then paste into the browser. But why cannot the browser make this easier and more reliable for users? Form auto-complete helps with part of the problem. But it only seems to work on individual fields. I believe it only registers data that has been submitted. And I've never noticed it working on textarea fields. There are also problems with unexpected behaviour when the user reloads a page, e.g. see bug 176287. I suggest extending the interface to form auto-complete. 1. When ever a user types or changes more than 10 characters in a form, the form data should be saved in the background to a persistent cache in the user's profile. (Except https and / or forms marked autocomplete="off".) 2. When a user visits a form with the same name (*) in the future, auto-complete should be more explicit about what it knows about the form. * If the last time the user used the form, they never submitted the data, then a sliding alert should appear, similar to the popup blocker notification in firefox 1.0PR (which is excellent BTW). This alert could say: "You have used this form before. Would you like to restore your previous entries?" Or it might say: "You started using this page but never submitted it. Would you like to restore a previous entry?" Users who click on the notifier would get the option to: = pick from a list of previous form data, with extracts shown to give enough context = bookmark a previous form entry (this saves the URL with the form data entered so it can be used as a template in future: whether this works depends a bit on the web app, so perhaps the bookmark is only visible when the relevant form is being viewed or something) = clear the previous form data (or a link to the privacy options) The sliding alert could appear at the top of the page, or within a textarea that a user had been typing away in before their cat leapt on the keyboard or a family member used their browser window to check the weather. The auto-complete could also be explicitly triggered using a new entry in the context menu for expert users. Advantages: * no dialogs! * alerts users to a potentially useful feature * makes it easy for people to find that lost email essay they had almost sent * with roaming profiles, it would even work after switching machines.... e.g. you could save a draft using this feature and pick it up on another machine later Issues: * maybe this sort of thing should be handled by web apps (although the web app never sees the data until you press submit) * privacy risks (but I think the notification and privacy management options should cover it) * security risks (up to form writers to label sensitive fields with autocomplete="off") * I haven't studied how auto-complete works in firefox 1.0PR in detail (*) Form writers might be encouraged to label their forms using meta-data to help the browser identify the same form even after slight changes. Thanks for your work on firefox, it's software the way it should be, Matthew. Reproducible: Always Steps to Reproduce:
asa's blog has an interesting discussion of this topic: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/007328.html
I was going to submit a separate bug, but this one pretty much covers what I was going to submit. Here's a blog entry where I discussed the issue: http://dan.hersam.com/archives/2005/02/14/crash-recovery-in-browsers
WFM -- Session Restore will save and restore form data in these cases.
Status: UNCONFIRMED → RESOLVED
Closed: 14 years ago
Resolution: --- → WORKSFORME
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