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

Re: Problem with 'target-new' property and alternative suggestion

From: Sam Kearns <sam@hinterlands.com.au>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 09:54:04 +1000
Message-ID: <4146331C.8020601@hinterlands.com.au>
To: www-style@w3.org

Brad Fults wrote:

>The original use of target="_blank" was a poor hack to make up for the lack
>of good UA support of proper interpretation and action based on semantic
>relationships. This brings in the relevant question of how much power a web
>page should be given over a user's experience. As far as a semantic web is
>concerned, the answer to that question should be "little or none". The web
>should contain markup delivering content and indicating relationships
>between content for the user agent. The user agent would then interpret the
>content, the relationships, and the user's preferences to deliver the final
>product within the desired limits of the user. Lets not forget that it is a
>_user_ agent, i.e. acting on behalf and under the control of the user.
>The point I wish to make is that instead of validating the addition of
>target-new by noting that target="_blank" is deprecated, one should realize
>that the decision of what to do with an external link should be _entirely_
>up to the UA (and in turn the user). For these reasons I suggest that CSS be
>restricted to styling, not behavior, and that HTML be enhanced with the
>proper tools needed to accurately describe contemporary content on the web.
>I don't think any of this interferes with a developer's ability to brand a
>site. Content should stand on its own and not need crutches such as forcing
>new windows to keep users interested.
><<I personally like the rel="external" idea. I even imagine further useful
>relationships, such as "help" and "sidebar" which could significantly reduce
>dependence on script to open undecorated windows.>>
>I agree. In addition I think there should be other values for the rel
>attribute that would specify other common practices such as the popup.
>Something like a rel="dialog" or rel="popup" (less desirable as it is not
>describing a relationship accurately) would be advantageous in that: a) the
>window.open() code could be eliminated; and b) the UA could give further
>control to the user over a site's behavior by, for example, creating the
>dialog within the same window superimposed over the content, thus
>eliminating the annoying popup control issues.
>The way I see standards becoming more useful is by standardizing(!) the way
>information is delivered to the UA so the user can interact with the
>presented content as he or she pleases, not by giving more intrusive control
>to unwieldy developers.

Thank-you Brad for doing a much better job of describing my argument, I 
couldn't agree more. The decision to open a new window should be in the 
hands of the user alone through UA interaction and preferences. Web page 
markup and styling should only indicate the relationship to provide a 
hook for the UA. This is a user rights / privacy issue!

Sam Kearns
Technical Analyst
Hinterlands Consultancy

Ph  (+612 or 02) 9899 2391
Mob (+614 or 04) 2233 0672
Fax (+612 or 02) 9899 2392

Internet Programming, Content Management & eCommerce Development
Received on Monday, 13 September 2004 23:55:37 UTC

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