[whatwg] Target Attribute Values
lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au
Fri Apr 27 21:55:30 PDT 2007
Ian Hickson wrote:
> 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
>> 1) At least _blank allows me to filter it out before sending it to
>> my browser.
Filtering out the value _blank is an ineffective way of blocking popups.
Some browsers have prefs to control it.
e.g. in Firefox, setting the pref browser.link.open_newwindow to 1
causes any links with target="" that would normally open a new window,
to open in the current tab. There are a few other prefs to control
window.open() as well.
>> 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.
In practice, authors use a wide variety of values to get popups anyway.
"_new", "newwindow", "popup", etc. are all fairly commonly used, among
>> 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.
The major reasons for popups that I can remember include:
* Links to external sites, so that users don't leave the previous site.
- It's far better to inform the user that they're going to an external
site and let them decide for themselves if they want a new window.
* Opening help windows. e.g. for help with forms.
- There are much more user friendly ways of offering help to users
* Photo galleries, where clicking on the thumbnail opens the larger
version in a popup.
- There are much more user friendly alternatives that don't require
popups. (Just imagine how hard Flickr would be to use if they
opened popups for every photo!)
* Links to files that require external apps, which commonly open within
the browser. e.g. PDF, Word docs, etc.
- Jakob Nielsen promotes this one for flawed usability reasons, but
whether or not such a file opens within the browser is entirely
dependent upon the UA config.
- These are just annoying.
* To give users windows without chrome (using window.open()), sometimes
to prevent the use of the back button.
- Such uses usually indicate broken back end implementations and/or
the complete failure to think about usability.
> On Apr 27, 2007, at 8:49 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> 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.
> Won't this just lead authors (who care about conformance) to use
> window.open(), with equally bad results that it's harder for the UA
> to control? This move seems to be taking the opposite of the logic
> behind the ping attribute.
Yes, unfortunately. We have already seen that occur with authors using
HTML 4.01 Strict. target="_blank" is less evil than window.open(), so
it may indeed be more pragmatic just to concede that authors are going
to use popups in one way or another, and just allow it.
> One valid reason to use _blank instead of a named target to open a
> new window is the fact that the top-level frame namespace is global,
> and you don't want to collide with windows opened by other web apps,
> or even other instances of your own web app.
You're assuming there is actually a valid use case for the popup in the
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