Suggestion: transient windows in html 4 or 5

J. DeBert (
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:32:49 -0800

Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:32:49 -0800
From: "J. DeBert" <>
Subject: Suggestion: transient windows in html 4 or 5

This suggestion concerns implementing a method in html
to incorporate transient windows, such as may be produced
with Java. 

I've been sitting on this for a while, hoping to work this
idea out a little more. I haven't been able to due to lack
of space-time. So here it is, raw & unprettied.

This idea came to me while working on an intranet site 
for engineering info. I found that I needed transient
windows for certain documents which included drawings
and images (actually, the documents _were_ drawings &
images) which were rather large in size to let
users see information about parts of the image without
having to move between documents. It is supposed to
make it easier for the user to work with.

The idea was conceived before Java, based at the time
on the little popup windows that one may see in a
Windows app when the mouse pointer is moved over a
function button and also based on the transient windows
used in the Windows Help facility where a small textbox
appears when certain tags within a help document are

While it is possible to do the same thing with Java,
not everyone can play with Java (me included)--or
perhaps not permitted to ([@$%&*!!!]company policies!).
So it would be useful to have it as part of html and
not some add-on.

It can use some improvements: There could be an
"onmouseover" action and some other options, as
well, for example.

Please note that this is a rather raw "brainstorm" and
not an attempt at a formal specification.

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For Future HTML inclusion:

Transient Windows or Popup Windows

Such windows are useful to contain text info
while viewing a graphic/image/drawing/etc. which
has not text, such as to provide a description and
other info about items within the graphic.

Can be used to replace separate definitions

Can be used to provide dynamic data about a
graphic. (ie, a commercial page displaying
product images--popups can provide pricing
and availability info without having to move
user to a different page)

Useful for speeding up http transfers? No need
to send a whole document...

Reduces cache sizes?

Two kinds:

	1. Embedded

	2. Subdocument 

A transient window is a small window that pops up when
it's link within a document is selected. It contains
either static or dynamic data.

Static data is data embedded within a transient window
tag in a HTML document. 

Dynamic data is data returned by the server when it's
link is selected in a subdocument known as a "popup".

Embedding a transient window with static data:

The data to be displayed in a transient window is
enclosed within the <POPUP> </POPUP> tags

A browser that is capable of recognizing the <POPUP>
tags should hide the contents of the embedded tag
until it is selected then overlay a small window
on the current document without changing it.

A browser which does not recognize the tags should
hopefully ignore the unrecognized tag and display
the tag contents normally inline.

Using a subdocument for a transient window:

A transient window may contain a subdocument
known as a "transient document". A "transient
subdocument" is a HTML document with an additional
option within the HTML tag to specify that it is
not a normal subdocument, e.g., "<HTML "TRANSIENT">"
or "<HTML "POPUP">.

A browser capable of recognizing the "TRANSIENT" or
"POPUP" options should display a small window which
may overlay the current document with the contents
of the subdocument without changing the current

A browser that does not recognize the "TRANSIENT"
or "POPUP" options should display the document
as if it were a normal HTML document.

The transient window may be dismissed or closed by
explicit or implicit means:

	1. Explicitly by clicking within the window
	   (not recommended if links are to be
	   permitted within transient windows) or
	   on a "Dismiss" or "Close" button within
	   the window (preferred).

	2. Implicitly by clicking anywhere within the
	   browser's window, including within the 
	   popup window.

To tell the browser which action should be required to
close a transient window, an option should be added to
the <POPUP> tag: <POPUP="IMPLICIT">, etc. The default
action should be to require explicit dismissal.

[More dismiss options: A dismiss button option...]

For a subdocument, this method is suggested:
<HTML "TRANSIENT=IMPLICIT"> Again, the explicit
dismissal method should be the default.

A transient window should be smaller than the browser
window. The maximum size should be limited to less than
60 percent of the browser window size.

A transient window should be contained within a frame
boundary and never cross another frame. Exception:
If the frame is too small to contain the window, it may
be placed over another frame but adjacent to it's own
frame. Perhaps a line can attach the popup with it's
parent frame?

A transient window subdocument should have all other options
permitted for regular documents such as background color
or image, font colors, images, et cetera.

A transient window must close when it's parent is no longer
displayed, i.e., when user moves to another document.


Could a transient window be "nailed down" by user? Might
be useful if user needs to keep it for a while. If so,
it should stay until explicitly dismissed by user, even when
user moves to another document.

Accomodating the future:

For HTML, declare a subdocument type with the "SUBDOCUMENT"
option. For example, to declare a HTML document as a
transient window subtype: "<HTML SUBDOCUMENT="TRANSIENT,IMPLICIT">.
This will allow easier additions of new document subtypes
in the future.





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