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RE : link in new window debate

From: Marjolein Katsma <hgnje001@sneakemail.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 12:45:51 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

At 12:11 2003-11-19, yoan SIMONIAN wrote:
>And on my own opinion new windows on HTML "_blank" is HTML valid so can't be
>forbiden just adapt to make it more accessible

That depends on what model (DTD) of HTML you're using (or aiming at). With the "transitional" models in HTML 4.x and XHTML 1.0 the target attribute is indeed allowed and valid. But if you're aiming for (X)HTML strict (or XHTML 1.1) it isn't: frames of any sort (which includes the target attribute) are not allowed in any of the strict models.

Some applications do indeed target XHTML strict (including on I'm working on).

Alternatives/solutions are:
- tell your users whether what _type_ of links they're seeing and whether it might be useful for *them* to use their UA facilities to open a new window (maybe even tell them how - but somewhere separate)
- for "help" type information do what's been suggested in this thread before: allow the user to display the page with, or without, help information embedded in the page *)
- use 'object' tags instead of 'iframe' tags (embedding or displaying "external" content may be a requirement; and "external" may mean being on the same server, just not presented by the same application).

This may exclude some older browsers (specifically, using object instead of iframe).
This may be possible only with server-side scripting (not all developers have access to that).
If that is a problem, given your audience, use the transitional model instead of HTML 4.x strict/XHTML 1.0 strict/XHTML 1.1.

And it's not as simple as it sounds :)

*) I've seen some admirable efforts to include "help" information in title attributes. Unfortunately, whether this actually is helpful depends on the browser. IE (win) will show the whole text (or at least a lot of characters) while Mozilla (and its Netscape derivatives) will show only a fixed-length (maximized-length) string which may cut off the relevant part of the help text. I've come to the conclusion that a title attribute may be useful for some purposes, but not really for "help" information.

Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Wednesday, 19 November 2003 06:46:07 UTC

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