[whatwg] Target Attribute Values

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Sun Apr 29 05:36:56 PDT 2007

On Apr 28, 2007, at 11:37 PM, Smylers wrote:
> Spartanicus writes:
> ...
>> 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?
> ...
> But _requiring_ user agents to offer opt-outs seems excessive, and
> possibly beyond the jurisdiction of the spec.  It seems likely that 
> user demand will lead mainstream web-browsers to offer options like 
> this anyway,
> ...

Actually they probably wouldn't, because it would break the Web in ways 
that weren't obviously the result of the option being set. And every 
option has some people who set it accidentally.

For example, forms sporting those "By submitting this form you accept 
our __terms of service__ and __privacy policy__" links I mentioned 
earlier are quite often sent over HTTPS. These are not cached by 
mainstream browsers, because the browser vendors have caved to bank 
Webmasters who threatened to block them if they were too 
HTTP-compliant. So if such a browser was configured to open those links 
in the same window, it would necessarily forget everything you'd 
entered in the form, which would be annoying.

> but if somebody wanted to produce a web browser that, say, was
> so minimalist it didn't offer any user preferences at all, surely 
> that's up to the browser manufacturer?

There are already many Internet kiosks that provide no user-visible 
options at all. But then, sometimes they don't offer multiple windows 

> ...
> Surely whether target="_blank" or even target="help" is treated
> different from target="top" can at best be a hint?  Surely it isn't a
> requirement of HTML that user-agents implement multiple content 
> windows? That may not be appropriate for some environments, perhaps:
> ...

Yeah, it limits the Web to those UAs for which multiple top-level 
browsing contexts make sense. Breaking the Web vs. limiting access to 
the Web, ugh.

If _blank is allowed, I would prefer the specification to discourage 
authors from using _blank when another solution is practical (e.g. 
using a <details> element in the original page), and encourage UAs to 
indicate when a link will open in a different top-level browsing 
context (e.g. by double-underlining instead of single-underlining).

Matthew Paul Thomas

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