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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
A seasoned developer's little discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Leveraging the textbox AutoComplete feature in IE & Firefox

I use Google Search and Live Search fairly well and I noticed that the keywords I used to search in Live Search came up to prompt me while I started typing in the Google Search textbox and the reverse was also happening in both IE as well as Firefox.

For a few seconds I was stumped but soon guessed it was the AutoComplete feature at work. I verified this by looking into the source code and it turns out that both Google & Live Search use a text box that is named "q".

The AutoComplete feature is an IE (version 5) innovation that works in Firefox (presumably from 1.0 onwards) as well and this can be utilized by developers to minimize typing in scenarios like requesting personal information through a form in a web page. AutoComplete information is shared among sites that are viewed through the browser and the feature can typically be invoked by using the same text box name in a form as one previously used for the same purpose. For instance, if they are many places in a single website where a city name is accepted from the user, the AutoComplete feature can be implemented by naming that text field in all the pages with the same name like "city".

To disable this feature for a single field like a Credit Card input textbox where it may not be prudent to activate this, the AUTOCOMPLETE property for the INPUT TYPE="text" tag can be set to OFF. To disable the feature completely for all FORM fields, the AUTOCOMPLETE property for FORM tag should be set to OFF.

Users who share their computers or those who are paranoid about revealing ANY details can turn off the AutoComplete feature for all websites in IE and Firefox.

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