...is there a way to discard empty strings as an input?
If I type an empty string, the view-control disapears...
maxInputField and minInputField attributes define the limitations for the length of input controls.
you need to use styles rule have what you want. For example, in the second example at the http://livedemo.exadel.com/richfaces-demo/richfaces/inplaceInput.jsf?c=inplaceInput the view control does not disappear if you enter the empty value there.
inputWidth - defines the with for states cnstanty
maxInputWidth and minInputWidth could be set also insted in order to define dynamically changed with.
See my topic on inplaceInput posted June 20. Your controls on the richfaces demo site do disappear.