datalist landed in Chrome Canary

Filling out forms sometimes feel like cumbersome thing. Giving users multiple choice yet enabling them to type freely is important. The datalist element (which just landed on Chrome Canary (M20) makes this a breeze.

By using datalist, your app can define a list of suggested results users should select from. They can either select an option from the list or enter freeform text.

Live demo:

Options can be paired with a datalist by specifying its id in an input element's list attribute:

<input type="text" value="" list="fruits" />
<datalist id="fruits">
    <option value="Apple"></option>
    <option value="Orange"></option>
    <option value="Peach"></option>

datalist is widely available on latest Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer after version 10. So you don’t have to worry about compatibility too much, but if you want to make sure it works across browsers, try the following:

<datalist id="fruits">
    Pick your favorite fruit
    <select name="fruit_sel">
    <option value="Apple">Apple</option>
    <option value="Orange">Orange</option>
    <option value="Peach">Peach</option>
    or type one.
<input type="text" name="fruit" value="" list="fruits" />

If datalist is available on your browser, everything under the datalist except the option elements will be hidden. If you use this fallback mechanism, make sure your server catches both “fruit_sel” and “fruit” as query parameters.