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

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

From: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 09:50:16 +0100
Message-ID: <a9699fd20802190050x6ce16038l5d534d684b556cd5@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org

Let me first state that I have no strong opinion on whether _blank
should be made conforming or not.

On Feb 19, 2008 2:30 AM, Sam Kuper wrote:
> 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.**

Gmail could use
or any other globally unique ID (e.g.
target="gmail_<internal_mail_id>" where <internal_mail_id> is the ID
used in Gmail database to identify the mail message).

Note that someone said on this list that Gmail actually uses
window.open(...) with some trickery such as nulling window.opener.

> 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!

Not if you're used to middle-clicking or ctrl-clicking, but well,
probably not more than 10% of users are used to this...

> **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).

Except that the current draft already contains an "origin" check (see
4th bullet):

Thomas Broyer
Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 08:50:23 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:30 UTC