[whatwg] Target Attribute Values

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Fri Apr 27 20:49:12 PDT 2007

On Thu, 26 Apr 2007, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> Why is _blank still considered a conforming value?  On IRC, Hixie 
> mentioned that there are some legitimate use cases, but didn't list any.  
> I've argued against popups many times before and heard many arguments 
> for them, but I'm yet to hear of any legitimate use cases.  If there are 
> any, what are they?

I've removed _blank from the list of valid values.

> _new is also not specced, yet it is widely used and treated as a magic 
> value like _blank in Firefox.  Maybe it should be specced the same as 
> _blank. However, IE, Opera and Safari didn't appear to treat it as such, 
> so maybe it's not needed.

_new isn't supported in IE. I couldn't work out why Firefox supports it. 
I've not added it.

On Thu, 26 Apr 2007, Spartanicus wrote:
> As a user I detest new windows opening without having chosen to do that 
> myself. But I'd question the wisdom of making _blank non conforming.
> 1) At least _blank allows me to filter it out before sending it to my 
> browser.
> 2) Afaik currently any attribute value for the target attribute which 
> hasn't been defined opens a new window. If _blank were made non 
> conforming authors would imo resort to using non defined names which has 
> the same result in practice, but which makes filtering such methods out 
> on the user end much harder.

If people widely blocked _blank, then authors would start using the names 
anyway. So that doesn't really change anything in practice.

> I've argued my socks off trying to convince authors that they should 
> leave opening new windows to users, but there are an awful lot of them 
> who for various reasons insists on doing just that.

It would be interesting to hear the needs of these authors. Can anyone 
elaborate? We might well need to re-allow it in the end, I'm curious to 
hear why people use it.

> Would perhaps a spec conformance requirement that browsers should offer 
> users a config option to opt out of windows being opened via target 
> values be an alternative? It could avoid the seemingly unwin'able 
> argument with authors who insist on doing this, and give users the final 
> say

This doesn't have to be in the spec, since it isn't required for interop.

On Fri, 27 Apr 2007, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> For most desktop applications in-depth help is presented in a separate 
> window, so this will also likely be desirable for Web applications that 
> do not consist of scrollable pages. (In those that do consist of 
> scrollable pages, help would generally be better embedded in the pages 
> themselves, perhaps as expandable sections.)
> So that's a use case for popup windows, but not necessarily a use case 
> for _blank, because help windows are usually reused (akin to 
> target="myappnamehelp" rather than target="_blank").


Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
> In the online advertising business, ads are usually put in <iframe>s for 
> security reasons.  (So the ad can't tell what page it's on... get user 
> cookies from that domain... etc.)
> So... if you didn't use a "_blank" for the target, the landing page for 
> the ad would open up in the tiny <iframe> (instead of a new window).

On Fri, 27 Apr 2007, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> That's a use case for _top or _parent, not _blank.


Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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