W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > September 2004

Problem with 'target-new' property and alternative suggestion

From: Bill Talcott <invisibill@invisibill.net>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 18:07:53 +0000
Message-ID: <41448F28.1000801@invisibill.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-css3-hyperlinks-20040224/#the-target-new ...

I completely agree with Sam Kearns in 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2004Mar/0007.html.  J. 
King makes some good points in 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2004Feb/0513.html also.

While it's open to interpretation whether a new window is better 
design-wise, Sam's other points are valid regardless. The target-new 
attribute makes some decisions that only the user should decide. The 
current target attribute is most often used for popups and opening links 
to other sites in new windows. Many people do not want new windows, so 
much so that several "single window" extensions have been written for 
Firefox (even with its relatively small userbase) to intercept these new 
window requests. Personally, I use Firefox but do not use tabs at all. 
Am I going to have to wait for the devs to code in an option to 
completely disable Firefox's tab system, or get an extension (similar to 
the existing single window extensions) that intercepts new-tab calls?

As J. King said, "tabs" may be too specific also. There may very well be 
browsers released that don't use tabs, or users like myself who simply 
don't like them. My OS manages multiple application windows well, so an 
additional tab bar in the browser simply takes up screen space while 
giving me no additional benefit. As Boris said in his reply, this seems 
to cater to one (or a few) browsers.

So, my alternative. I saw the technique elsewhere, and have started 
doing it on my pages. I use rel="external" in external hyperlinks. This 
supplies information about the link, stating that it's external. The 
browser could then handle "external" links in whatever way the user 
specifies - same window, new tab, new window, etc. A clever browser 
could even be configured to handle an external link in the same domain 
differently (in a new tab, instead of a new window, for example). Using 
rel="external" seems to do basically the same thing as target-new, but I 
feel that it provides a way to specify a property which can be handled 
in one of several ways. A browser could probably just as easily be coded 
to intercept target-new and handle it in the desired way, but that just 
seems more like making the standard less diverse and hacking browsers to 
make up for it.

While we all tend to think highly of our own ideas, I think the concept 
of labelling the type of link and letting the user agent decide how to 
handle it is much more in tune with an open standard. I don't want 
standards catering to one specific product, even if that product is 
considered the best and completely open in every way, shape, and form.

Received on Monday, 13 September 2004 13:48:50 UTC

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