[whatwg] showModalDialog

Karl Pongratz karlhp at karlhp.com
Fri Jul 1 03:27:09 PDT 2005

Hallvord Reiar Michaelsen Steen wrote:

>On 1 Jul 2005 at 11:44, Sanghyeon Seo wrote:
>>Concerning recent thread about modal and modeless windows, did anyone
>>mention showModalDialog already?
>>I believe this functionality does come in handy in some cases.
>>Microsoft wouldn't have implemented it if there wasn't any demand?
>One of the reasons why modal popup-windows are a very bad feature in 
>a browser is that, unlike a desktop application, you don't really 
>know what other pages you prevent the user from accessing by throwing 
>up a modal dialog. To go with the address book example from the 
>previous thread: I click "edit" in my fancy address book application, 
>a modal window pops up, I want to go to the tab where my E-mail lives 
>to copy the address I wanted to put in my address book and ... ouch, 
>can't get to the E-mail because I use an integrated browser/mail 
>client application and the modal dialog blocks access to all the 
If you want to copy an email address you will have a problem with any 
web app I think, traditional and Ajax based once. If you want to do that 
in a nice way you may need to use at least chromeless windows, yet you 
could use modal windows from the already opened chromeless windows, then 
you can access your main page even if a modal window is active.

>I don't think showModalDialog should be in WHAT's spec.
Yep, Xforms may be more interesting, yet the web browser should handle 
at a minimum chromeless windows and if possible modal windows (in os 

>I think 
>current DHTML/AJAX tricks offer adequate solutions for modal dialogs.
I don't think that DHTML and AJAX are the holy grail and offer a 
solution to just everything. AJAX i.e. breaks the traditional browsing 
model (and I do certainly not understand why nobody complains in this 
case!), among others. No doubt that DHTML and AJAX offers some great 
"hacks", but be careful where and how you use them.

Beside that, someone of the Xforms fellows has written a blog story that 
it can be a bit of an overhead to develop and maintain a DHTML/AJAX app 
compared to Xforms, and I think he is right, though I don't find the 
link right now.

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