W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > September 2008

Re: No tabbed browsing in HTML 5?

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 20:23:42 -0400
Message-ID: <48D2F10E.9090100@mit.edu>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
CC: public-html@w3.org

Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> The thing with _blank is that many authors apparently expect that it 
> opens in a new Window, and rely on that behaviour.

Other than authors specifying a size, how so, exactly?

> 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.

That may or may not be true depending on the behavior of the user's 
window manager.

> 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.

That's up to the UA (instead of the window manager), and is a usability 
decision on the UA's part.  For what it's worth, some UAs have exactly 
the behavior you seem to expect here.  But that's up to the UA (or more 
precisely the user, but in practice users end up using the UA defaults).

> 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.

Then the author is making an unwarranted assumption, whether tabs are 
involved or not.  If he wants to actually guarantee that this assumption 
holds, he should be calling focus() on the window he wants to end up on 
top.  Of course some UAs disable rearrangement of window z-index via 
focus() calls too...

In the end, the author is just not in control here; fact of life.  And I 
don't think he _should_ be in ultimate control.

> 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!

Sounds like your UA has suboptimal behavior.  Report a bug to its creators?

> The question still is: When is target:_tab useful?

"Never", for a user who never wants to see tabs.  That is, the author 
should not be forcing his tab-vs-window preferences on the user, period. 
  If the user wants to have target="_blank" create a tiled UI as seen in 
some MDI apps, and not either windows or tabs, that should be the user's 
decision.  And the spec should not forbid this: innovation in user 
interface design is a good thing.

> 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.

Again, it sounds like what's really created problems for you is poor 
behavior on the part of your UA.

-Boris
Received on Friday, 19 September 2008 00:24:32 UTC

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