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Reserved frame names in non-strict HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0

From: William F Hammond <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
Date: 18 Jan 2003 12:14:26 -0500
To: W3C HTML Specification Discussion <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <i7r8babcst.fsf_-_@hilbert.math.albany.edu>

In the subject thread "Re: External links in XHTML 1.1"
Roland Bluethgen <calocybe@web.de> writes:

> David Woolley wrote:
> > The same as in all previous versions:  don't consider them to be
> > external. It's this sort of thinking that is why I say that the
> > modern commercial web is actually denying the derivation of the name
> > web, as authors are very reluctant to link off site.  As others have
> > pointed out, popups are an accessibility issue.
> 
> I agree with you. Unfortunately there are many people that think
> otherwise, and unfortunately they are sometimes willing to institute
> legal proceedings to enforce their meaning. At least in Germany it is
> not entirely uncommon to sue people for not using target="_blank" when

Is this an "urban legend" or can you cite an instance?

> linking to another site. If there hadn't ever been the target attribute,
> they wouldn't even have such an idea, but now ... we're in the mess. :-(

If such a law suit has any merit, I would hope that it is based on the
conclusion that there was a deliberate attempt to confuse the user on
the question of who provided the content, thereby amounting to either
slander or plagiarism, depending on the context provided by the
content.  Normally, the visible text surrounding an external anchor
gives the user adequate information.

Moreover, I would hope that a weighing of the merit of such a complaint
would be mindful of the fact that there exist web viewing environments
where frames and multiple window displays are not possible, hence,
where the reserved target values have no effect.

In fact, any of the reserved frame names (HTML 4.01 docs, section
6.16), i.e., "_blank", "_parent", "_self", "_top", may be used
abusively.

Beyond the question of abuse, any use of the reserved names
inappropriately preempts preempts the user's control of his display.
It can be a very effective way to encourage one's customers to shop
elsewhere.

                                    -- Bill
Received on Saturday, 18 January 2003 12:14:29 GMT

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