[whatwg] modal and modeless windows

Karl Pongratz karlhp at karlhp.com
Sun Jun 26 10:06:23 PDT 2005


I have no objection to use forms via the browser back button if it is 
useful, I think Google or Yahoo search are typical examples as well. 
Though I am talking about applications where it is harmful or where it 
doesn't make sense to display the form again or to access it via the web 
browser history.

So should I allow it just because it is useful in some other cases? That 
doesn't work for me, simply said, something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

I am using pseudo modal windows for data manipulation in a lot of cases 
(DHTML wizards, etc run in pseudo modal mode), though they are pseudo 
because I jut open a new window without the chrome, I didn't have a 
single user which had any problem with it, though I remember one single 
user which didn't know about the web browser back button :-).

By the way, I don't break the web browser button on the regular main 
browser window, I simply don't use them in the opened pseudo modal 
windows if it is not necessary, respectively if it could harm something.

My point is, you can browse web documents, but you can't browse web 
applications, the browsing model is out of date.


J. Graham wrote:

> On Sun, 26 Jun 2005, Karl Pongratz wrote:
>> can someone tell me why I should want, respectively why I am allowed 
>> to return to a form page I just submitted, does that make any sense?
> In order:
> You might want to return to the form page to submit the form with 
> different details. A typical example of this would be a rail timetable 
> application where returning to the form page would allow adjustments 
> to the journey without having to reenter the unchanged data. This is 
> extremely common.
> You are allowed to return to the previous form page because a) it's 
> more often useful than not and b) because allowing authors to mess 
> about with the back button would cause more harm than good. The back 
> button is widely understood (moreso than links and, especially, the 
> location bar, for example) and therefore important in making the web 
> usable. Unscrpulous authors would take advantage of the ability to 
> disable the back button to prevent users from backing out of their 
> sites. The user would have no clue why the back button worked on some 
> sites but not on others. To improve the UI, browser makers would 
> prevent the back button from being disabled (c.f. popup windows).
>> That's where most problems start in regard to web applications, this 
>> is not the only problem, but probably one of the most significant 
>> once, the browsing model. Can we change the browsing model? I think 
>> yes, by introducing modal and modeless windows, view documents by 
>> using the traditional browsing model, but anything else, manipulating 
>> data and form submission, would be done in modal windows, and more. 
>> Well, its not that simple, it may require to modify the caching model 
>> and other parts as well, however, I consider them as the primer for 
>> anything else.
> Having different types of windows doesn't make much sense to me. If 
> you want to do abusable things like disabling the back button (or 
> reading local files or using chromeless windows  or...) you need a way 
> for a user to indicate that they trust you not to do anything evil. 
> The most common way to do that at the moment is to run the application 
> locally (although this clearly doesn't work - most spyware runs 
> locally yet is evil)
> .

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