[whatwg] Re: modal and modeless windows

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 28 06:16:16 PDT 2005

Karl Pongratz wrote:
> 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 
>>>So I would suggest to keep them and improve them rather than removing 
>>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.

   Did it occur to anyone that this is all hostile to the user? You 
prevent the user from accessing controls for browser (buttons, menus, et 
cetera). You prevent the user from going to another domain. You block 
their access to an underlying window. This all smacks of "let's control 
the users, because the users are stupid".

>>>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 
>>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.**

    Yeah, but he really doesn't way why. I was hoping he'd have a use 
case in there somewhere...

> 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.

    Congratulations. You just reinvented <xul:dialog>. :)

    Seriously, though, why not just standardize a subset of XUL ("sXUL") 
and use a compound document (XHTML + "sXUL"). We could make sXUL the 
standard for browser extensions while we're at it.

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