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Re: Why authors are using Transitional (and target="_blank")

From: Sam Kuper <sam.kuper@uclmail.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 01:30:20 +0000
Message-ID: <4126b3450802181730h71e9ac64hfb13f1e7517ea6ec@mail.gmail.com>
To: marghanita@ramin.com.au
Cc: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
On 18/02/2008, Marghanita da Cruz <marghanita@ramin.com.au> wrote:
>It would be interesting to hear the case for using [target="_blank"], or is
it a default in
>authoring tools.

I already gave a case for using target="_blank" instead of target="name".

Here's another case for using target="_blank". Gmail, by default, sets the
target for all external links to "_blank". This allows Gmail to work much
more like an email client application (which you expect to stay open after
you've clicked a link in an email) than just one of many web pages you may
happen to have open (which may or may not stay in place when you click a
link in them). It also means that Gmail doesn't risk overwriting the
contents of other open browser tabs/windows, which would be puzzling for the
user and could, if such tabs/windows contained edited but unsubmitted forms,
lead to data loss.**

There are obviously situations in which using target="_blank" will confuse
users. But there are also cases in which *not* using target="_blank" could
confuse users. I think external links from Gmail constitute one of the
latter cases, because it would be pretty confusing if each link you clicked
in your email app replaced the app with the linked item!

In fact, any web application which needs both (a) continuous presence in a
browser window and (b) the ability to link to external documents in a way
that opens them in new windows, ought to be able to be written using
target="_blank". Such applications could be online calendars, or word
processors, or ... you get the idea. *Real* applications can use new windows
beneficially, and authors who write such applications must have the tools
available to enable them to do so in a way that is compliant with HTML5.

Therefore, I advocate the inclusion of target="_blank" as conforming in
HTML5, not because failure to do so would make pop-up elimination harder,
but because failure to do so would leave authors writing legitimate, useful
new applications in difficulty.


**What do I mean by this? It's an extension of the argument I made about the
difficulty of using target="name" in a collaborative environment.
Essentially, the browser is a collaborative environment. Say I've visited
www.a.com and that site has a link, which I've clicked, that loads a help
popup into target="help". Meanwhile, in a new tab/window, I visit www.b.com,
which belongs to an entirely separate company and was authored by a
different agency. However, coincidentally, www.b.com also has a link to a
help page, which has target="help". When I click that link, instead of
opening in a new window/tab, the help page for www.b.com will overwrite the
help page for www.a.com . If I were a novice user, I'd find that totally
befuddling. If, on the other hand, both help pages used target="_blank",
then a quick look at the taskbar (or tab bar, etc) would show that both help
pages had opened, and I'd be able to switch between them easily and
intuitively by selecting them on the taskbar (or tab bar, etc).
Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 01:30:30 UTC

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