target=”_blank” vs. target=”_new”

Bullseye Target for Archery Practice

The target attribute of a link forces the browser to open the destination page in a new browser window. Using _blank as a target value will spawn a new window every time while using _new will only spawn one new window and every link clicked with a target value of _new will replace the page loaded in the previously spawned window. Try it out for yourself:

Links with target=”_blank”

Google | Yahoo | Bing

Links with target=”_new”

Google | Yahoo | Bing

target=”_new” is not a standard target value. You could use any term you like and any link that has the same target value will open in a previously spawned window. See the target=”booger” example below.

Links with target=”booger”

Google | Yahoo | Bing

How can I force a link to open in a new tab instead of a new window?

There is currently no way to force a window to open in a new tab for browsers with this feature. This functionality can only be set in the preferences of the browser (see other resources section below).

What if I want the new window to display at a certain size?

The only way to do this is by using JavaScript. I recommend the method outlined at Quirksmode.org.

Other Rescources

Of course all of this is moot since opening pages in new windows is a usability annoyance.

Does The IMG Tag Need A Fullsize Attribute?

Drew Wilson is proposing the HTML IMG tag get a new attribute called fullsize. The fullsize attribute would reference “a larger (or fullsize) version of the SRC image. Browsers could then include native support to display the fullsize image in a [modal] pop-up.” according to addfullsize.com, Wilson’s site dedicated to the effort. Mr. Wilson has even gone to the trouble of creating a jQuery plug-in that simulates how the behavior would work. He hopes the Internet will make enough buzz about it to get the attention of the W3C in order to get the fullsize attribute included in the official HTML spec. As of this writing, the petition to add a fullsize attribute has 185 “signatures”. I am not one of them.

Drew Wilson is proposing the W3C add a new attribute to the IMG tag called fullsize.

I’m not against the idea of including a reference to a larger version of an image right inside the tag. HTML is all about structuring and describing content, and the fullsize attribute is just another piece of meta-data. My biggest problem is this is already possible today by wrapping a link pointing to the fullsize image around the original image. Is it sexy? No. But it is still flexible. It can be customized and jazzed up with JavaScript and CSS but for devices that don’t support those technologies, a link around an image would still be accessible.

What I’m weary wary about is letting the browser manufacturers determine the default pop-up behavior and then relying on them for easier customization options. Take drop down input elements for example. Getting these to look consistent across all of the different browsers and operating systems in the world today is impossible. Roger Johansson went through the effort and documented them on his blog 456bereastreet.com. Any saved time from browsers handling a pop-up would be wasted trying to work around the different limitations for each browser.

To summarize:

  • I’m all for a fullsize attribute for meta-data purposes
  • Browsers handling the pop-up functionality will do more harm than good