[whatwg] Re: modal and modeless windows

Karl Pongratz karlhp at karlhp.com
Tue Jun 28 07:09:10 PDT 2005

Matthew Raymond wrote:

> 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 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.
>   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 wouldn't call users stupid, I would call web browsers stupid if they 
are not capable to let the user complete a task in the most productive 
and logical manner. However, I thought we are talking about web 
applications, or do you want start reading your newspaper within 
Dreamweaver, a Color Picker or your File Manager? Is that what you 
intend :-) ?

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

Are you sure you need a more detailed use case?

>> 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.

Pardon, there isn't much I know about Mozilla XUL in detail, XUL always 
sounded interesting, though as only Mozilla supports XUL ...

> .

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