[whatwg] iframes with potential for independent navigation controls

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Aug 11 15:10:33 PDT 2010

On Thu, 22 Jul 2010, Brett Zamir wrote:
> I would like to see attributes be added to allow iframes to have 
> independent navigation controls, or rather, to allow a parent document 
> to have ongoing access to the navigation history of its iframes (say to 
> be informed of changes to their histories via an event) so that it could 
> create such controls?  I would think that the average user might suspect 
> that their clicks would not necessarily be private if they were already 
> in the context of another site, but if privacy would be of concern here 
> (or security, though GET requests alone shouldn't alone be able to give 
> access to sensitive data), maybe the user could be asked for permission, 
> as with Geolocation.
> This really has I think wonderful potential.
> Especially but not exclusively for larger screens, one can envision, for 
> example, a site which displays content in a table, with paragraphs being 
> in one column, and commentary in another.
> If the commentary column uses say a wiki (or a comment feed/discussion 
> thread), to keep track of resources and cross-references, insights, 
> errata, etc. pertaining to a given paragraph or verse (e.g., for books, 
> but also potentially for blog articles, etc.--anywhere people may wish 
> to dissect in context), it would be desirable for one to be able to say 
> edit content in one fixed iframe pane, follow links in another one 
> (including to other domains), etc., all while keeping the original 
> context of the table of content and iframes on screen, and allowing the 
> user to go backward and forward in any pane independently (or possibly 
> type in a URL bar for each iframe). One can even imagine ongoing chat 
> discussions taking place within such a mosaic.

It's an interesting idea (the ability to ask for the browser to embed 
controls, that is; we wouldn't be able to grant cross-domain access to 
pages, since that would open all kinds of security problems). The best way 
to proceed is to follow the steps described in the wiki:


In particular, I think getting implementation experience would be critical 
for such a feature. Do users get confused? Does just providing a set of UI 
controls actually address the use cases, or do authors still need more? 
That is the kind of questions we'd need answers to.

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

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