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Re: No tabbed browsing in HTML 5?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 21:37:08 +0200
Message-ID: <48D2ADE4.10306@malform.no>
To: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
CC: 'Justin Anthony Knapp' <justinkoavf@gmail.com>, john@netpurgatory.com, 'N-at-Work' <info@n-at-work.net>, public-html@w3.org

Nathalie, perhaps you could explain how you envisionaged the 
effect of _tab? I'll offer my perspective here.

Justin, Lynx could also have had a form of Tabs support. In an UA 
without Tabs, it should probably just open a new Window, though it 
possibly could create a some kind of grouping as well (see below).

With "_blank" one creates a new browsing context, where the new 
context has no "link" with the originating context. This, in fact, 
seems to me to be exactly what we would expect from a "_tab" also. 
Except that for "_tab" one would expect that the link would open 
in a Tab and not in a Window. Thus, a tab is forming a context 
anyhow, since the Tabs of a Window form a kind of group.

Even Lynx and other UAs without Tab support in a GUI sense, could 
develope a way to group several pages into one "usage context". 
And until they support something like that, the "_tab" would have 
the same effect as "_blank".

One possible benefit of defining _tab could be that we could also 
  define a cleaner _blank, where _blank would *always* open a new 
Window even if the browser does have support for Tabs.

The thing with _blank is that many authors apparently expect that 
it opens in a new Window, and rely on that behaviour. By that 
expectation, they kind of expect the *opposite* of what the draft 
says that _blank does. (Draft says that _blank creates a new 
context, thus - that there is no "link" between them. )

When a new Window opens above the current Tab or Window, then all 
it takes to get back to the originating Tab/Window, is that one 
closes the Window. But if the page opened in a new Tab instead of 
a in a new Window, the outcome of closing the Tab is uncertain. 
Quite likely you land in another Tab than the originating one.

Example: An Internet Banking service I use has a calendar in the 
form of a date selector, which opens in a new window. Upon picking 
a date, the window closes and the author then expects that the 
user will be back in the Banking page again. But in fact, because 
the calendar opened in a new Tab, and because I might have opned a 
new parallell Tab side-by-side the Banking page before I chose the 
Calendar, I might land in that nearby Tab instead of the Banking 
page. Annoying!

The question still is: When is target:_tab useful? A possible 
answer could be: On start pages of many kinds. Any page where the 
author expects the users to read the links of the page in 
parallell tabs. Also, if you operate a page without a mouse, then 
it might be convenient if it is simple to open the links in Tabs.

Even so, I am still not certain that _tab would be much used 
though. But it does seem to me to be logical to have one way to 
open a page in a Tab and another way to open a page in a new 
Window. The fact that we do not have a way to separate them today 
has at least created problems for me in my Internet Banking surfing.

Justin James 2008-09-18 18.44:

> The behavior of _blank, _self, etc. is only defined in HTML as referring to
> browsing contexts. However a particular UA chooses to implement that is up
> to them. _blank, _self, etc. have meaning, even within a browser like Lynx.
> _tab does not. It just so happens that the most popular use case for _blank
> is to open a new tab/window, but that does not mean that this is within the
> scope of the HTML specification.
> J.Ja
> From: public-html-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Justin Anthony Knapp
> Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 11:43 AM
> To: john@netpurgatory.com
> Cc: N-at-Work; public-html@w3.org
> Subject: Re: No tabbed browsing in HTML 5?
> It seems that most browsers have an option to "open in new window" or "open
> in new tab" and that is probably best handled as a end-user issue. I
> understand your rationale, though.
> And, as pointed out, someone will find a work-around: some script
> bookmarklet or Firefox extension that opens the _tabs in _windows and
> vice-versa. The notion of declaring parts of the browser is a bit silly to
> me. Why not _new or _newdocument or somesuch to signify that this link is
> probably not supposed to replace this document's display, but can be
> displayed however the end user and the permissions of his program allow?
> -JAK
> On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 11:33, John C. Vernaleo <john@netpurgatory.com>
> wrote:
> On Thu, 18 Sep 2008, N-at-Work wrote:
> So what do you think about ?_tab? as an additional keyword.
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#target6
> I for one really don't see how that is a legit thing for authors to decide.
>  Seems completely a user agent decision to me.  (Not to mention terminal
> based browsers like lynx and screen readers that would have no reasonable
> way to support it.)
> I can barely remember how I used the web before tabs, but I still wouldn't
> want to give control of that to the html author (and as an author I wouldn't
> want that control either).  If it were added to the spec, then browsers
> would have to come up with a way to ignore them which seems like it means
> extra work has to get done by everyone

leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 18 September 2008 19:37:56 UTC

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