In august 1999 in Cleveland, in a train between downtown and the airport, I had quite a long chat with Tantek Çelik about the
contenteditable attribute introduced by Microsoft. In substance, I told him that I was very impressed by that innovation and that I loved it. I remember telling him precisely "I have the feeling this is the way to go, I am impressed".
I am very happy to see the amazing Ian Hickson and his amazing crowd of WHAT gurus have it part of Web Applications 1.0. But with all due respect to the incredible work done by Ian and peers, that's not enough... This is a 1998 solution into a 2006 document.
I think the thingy called Web 2.0 needs a new editable attribute superseding the contenteditable one, and taking more complex values than only true or false. We need a way to say that only text can be entered/changed/deleted/.... That the user can create inline elements (strong, em, ...). Or that the user is allowed to insert a line break. Or create a new block/split the current block in two. And, and, and.
I'd like such an attribute to be a whitespace-separated list of values and I would also like to be able to specify what elements the user is allowed to create. That would allow for instance the user to handle a list without having the right to end or split the list.
I also think that editing form controls is a so complex thing that it should not be allowed. Form controls in (content)editable areas should be only removable, not editable.