[whatwg] Re: modal and modeless windows

Karl Pongratz karlhp at karlhp.com
Tue Jun 28 03:16:00 PDT 2005

James Graham wrote:

> Karl Pongratz wrote:
>> Matthew Raymond wrote:
>>>    Every indication is that chromeless windows are on their way out.
>> I would be very sad if that would happen. Its currently the only way 
>> to keep forms out of history and to unlock them from the back/next 
>> button.
>> So I would suggest to keep them and improve them rather than removing 
>> them.
> Well if you can think of an easy way to improve them so that they a) 
> obviously belong to the browser and b) clearly display the full 
> location then I'm sure UA vendors will be happy to hear from you. 
> Otherwise, the internet being the way it is, chromeless windows, on 
> the public internet at least, have a short life expectancy.

Yep, I would be very happy with this approach, to lock chromeless 
windows to the user agent and to always show the full location, and that 
you can't connect to another domain than of the domain from where you 
opened the window. This modification shouldn't be that difficult to 
implement for user agent vendors, I think... and hope. As far as I 
remember the domain restriction already exists.

>>>> So, Xforms may be a solution in that case if you don't require 
>>>> being the first window you open to be modal. By the way, I am 
>>>> simulating modal windows within the edit forms I use, but it is 
>>>> definitely a dirty hack to simulate multi web browser and multi os 
>>>> modal windows.
>>>    Yeah, hacks like this run the risk of conflicting with native UI 
>>> conventions, I'll give you that. However, it is widely accepted that 
>>> modal UI is to be avoided anyway.
>> I have no objection to avoid them if they are not really required. 
>> Though what doing in the rare cases where you can't avoid them, I 
>> guess Apple applications are still using modal windows in the one or 
>> other case, and they will remain for another decade or two. Or is it 
>> different?
> It seems to me that two different issues have been conflated here: 
> modal windows (those which prevent their parent window from being 
> focused) and chromeless/navigationless windows. Whilst there are a 
> very few occasions in which I can see modal windows being useful I can 
> also imagine that they would be abused for all sorts of nasty things 
> (even more instrusive adverts, for example).

The case where you require modal windows may be rare, yet they are 
extremely useful in those cases, I remember they are on the web 
applications wish list at "Joel on software" as well, 
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/oldnews/pages/June2004.html , section 
Thursday, June 17, 2004.**

Yep, I am afraid that modal windows would be abused, as many other 
things, though I consider some content you find on the web much more 
harmful than modal windows could ever be, yet you allow authors to 
publish content on the web :-).

Thinking more about it, in my case I would require the modal windows on 
already opened chromeless windows, that could be a solution, limiting 
the use of modal windows to already opened chromeless windows, so that 
you can't open a modal window right away from a regular web browser 
window, that would make it much more difficult to abuse them. That is 
something I would be happy with and may cover most use cases where modal 
windows are required.

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