Definition of "Toolbar", Alternate Menu Type?

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Definition of "Toolbar", Alternate Menu Type?

Xaxio Brandish
Good afternoon,

Pardon my ignorance, but I cannot seem to find a definition of "toolbar" anywhere in the HTML specification.

The Candidate Recommendation states:

"If a menu element's type attribute is in the toolbar state, then the element represents a list of active commands that the user can immediately interact with."


"A menu (or toolbar) consists of a list of zero or more of the following components:

    Commands, which can be marked as default commands
    Other menus (which allows the list to be nested)"

The Editor's Draft states:

"If a menu element's type attribute is in the toolbar state, then the element represents a toolbar consisting of its contents, in the form of either an unordered list of items (represented by li elements), each of which represents a command that the user can perform or activate, or, if the element has no li element children, flow content describing available commands."

and the subsequent menu (or toolbar) text seems to have changed to:
"A pop-up menu consists of a list of zero or more menu items, which can be any of:

    Commands, which can be marked as default commands (menuitem)
    Separators (hr)
    Other menus, which allows the list to be nested (menu)"
(no subsection link)

 I have a few questions based on these pieces of text. Please allow me to enumerate them to make them easier to address.

1) How is "toolbar" defined?

a) Unsourced Wikipedia states currently "In a graphical user interface, on a computer monitor, a toolbar is a GUI widget on which on-screen buttons, icons, menus, or other input or output elements are placed."

b) Unsourced Wiktionary states currently "A row of buttons, usually marked with icons, used to activate the functions of an application or operating system".

c) Merriam-Webster states that a toolbar is "a strip of icons on a computer display providing quick access to certain function".

d) Can a toolbar consist entirely of text, without using icons?

e) Must a toolbar be a row (implying a horizontal visualization) instead of a column?

2) Based on the draft text, are the terms "menu" and "toolbar" interchangeable, or is a toolbar *definitively* a type of menu?

a) The text in the Draft that has changed to state "A pop-up menu..." and then define the contents of a menu seems like it should be valid for any menu, regardless of whether it is constantly visible or a pop-up menu.  Why was this changed?

3) Regardless of whether looking at the CR or Draft, the <menu> element only takes a type of either "popup" or "toolbar".  The <contextmenu> element appears only to be relevant to right-click events.  Please consider the following scenario:

A viewport exists, split horizontally by a graphical line into two parts, with the left part taking 15% of the horizontal space and the right part taking 85% of the horizontal space. The left side of the viewport displays contextual information.  The area on the right side of the viewport contains various elements with which an end user can interact.  When an element on the right part is clicked (not right-clicked), the left side of the viewport is updated with *contextual* information relevant to the clicked element.  This contextual information consists of the size of the element, the background color of the element, a link that can be clicked to expand the width and height of the element (a command), and an element that can be hovered over to display yet more actions and information associated with the element.

a) How would the left side of the viewport be defined?  It is not used for navigation, so <nav> does not seem to apply.  It is neither a toolbar by the above definitions (there are no icons or buttons for it), nor is it a popup menu, since it is constantly visible.  By the CR definition of menu contents, it *seems* like it should be a menu.

b) Would it make sense to define a third type for the menu element for this type of situation, or would it fall under the jurisdiction of another element entirely?  I ask in the interest of maintaining semantic markup.

If I have addressed this to the wrong mailing list, please inform me.