November 28, 2006

Windows Full of Links

Often, I have links to other website on my blog. One might argue that these links are one of the main purposes of Aces Full of Links. Sometimes I create the links so that they open in the current browser window (like this) and sometimes the links open up in a new window (like this).

I haven’t been entirely consistent in how I do this in the past. There are reasons that website developers use method #2 (open each link in a new window). Some people will say it’s to prevent you from casually surfing away from the website, thus keeping the reader at your site longer. My justification has always been that inline links are interruptions to the blog post, and you might want to check them while you are still continuing to read the post, so you don’t intend to surf away.

There are legitimate criticisms of forcing a link to open in another window.

I know the arguments pro and con, but I want to see what you, my readers, think about the subject. So, it’s time for a poll! If you had a choice, how would all the links work here are Aces Full of Links?

When you click a link to another website, what would you prefer to happen?
I would prefer that all links open in the current browser window; I would use the “back” button to return to Aces Full of Links.
I would prefer that links open in a new window, so that I can see where that link goes, but the current window still shows Aces Full of Links.
I would prefer to have a checkbox on the main page of the blog that lets me choose how the links work. I could choose one of the two methods above.
  
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Posted by James at November 28, 2006 8:33 PM
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Comments

I vote for new windows. I used to care more about this but I've been using Firefox for a few years so it doesn't matter as much now. I click on all links with the middle mouse button which opens them in new tabs and a simple setting in the about:config panel makes popup windows behave the same way:

browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction
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Posted by: Mike at November 28, 2006 10:21 PM

Yeah, I'm with Mike: Firefox, especially with the Tab Mix Plus extension, makes it pretty much irrelevant (and IE 7 will start taking IE in that direction too).

It's actually not completely irrelevant — since there's no "open in same tab" selection, one can argue that if you use "target=_blank" you're taking an option away from the user. But I make all my links in my own blog with "target=_blank", so....

For my blog browsing, I usually open a bunch of links in background tabs, while I read the main entries. Then I go pull up the background tabs and read the reference material.

Posted by: Barry Leiba at November 29, 2006 7:46 AM

Right, Barry. That's why I'm surprised to see so many people voting for opening links in another window (so far). It makes me really glad I put this poll up!

My motivation was to apply some more consistent approach using CSS or Javascript, so that I don't have to keep typing "target="_blank" on all of my stupid links.

Posted by: James at November 29, 2006 7:58 AM

There wasn't an option for "same window, different tab." That's why I voted for new window. I've gotten into the habit of right-clicking and picking "open in new tab" since I can't tell beforehand what the link is going to do.

I don't care much whether the new page comes up in a different tab or a different window, as long as I don't surf away from the page I'm looking at.

Posted by: Julie at November 29, 2006 9:25 AM

Julie, if you're using Firefox you can have all new window links open in tabs. That's what I do; I like it that way, too.

If you like, I will send you a link regarding how to get the browser to do that.

It's possible that the new Internet Explorer does this as well, but I'm not familiar with it.

Posted by: James at November 29, 2006 10:10 AM

Oh, it's what Mike posted above. In Firefox you go to about:config and twiddle a value.

Read a little more about the setting Mike mentions here:
http://www.tweakguides.com/Firefox_8.html

(Scroll down to "browser.link.open_newwindow")

In any case, it really looks like I will be leaning towards links consistently opening in new windows, and possibly adding a switch. This is what I would have chosen originally, but not what I expected other people to agree with (which is why I am considering a switch as well.)

Posted by: James at November 29, 2006 10:20 AM

I want to force all LINKS to open in a new tab. Not just those that were going to open in a new window (I already have that setting). That's why I always right-click - because I don't know whether the link was planning on opening a new window or not.

Posted by: Julie at November 29, 2006 11:30 AM

Sorry, that was sort of off-topic for the original question. I was talking about all links everywhere, not just the ones on acesfull.

Posted by: Julie at November 29, 2006 11:34 AM

I got what you meant (after you clarified).

There is probably some complicated way to do what you want through a Greasemonkey browser script, but I'm not sure you'd want to go through the trouble.

Posted by: James at November 29, 2006 12:26 PM

I've gotten so used to right-clicking that it's really not a big deal. I bet it'll be added to Firefox eventually anyway.

Posted by: Julie at November 29, 2006 12:55 PM

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