Sunday, July 02, 2006

[Links]: New window or not New Window

Today I was looking through the S'cool's archives and came upon this post which made for a fascinating reminder of how my own method of using the internet has changed in the past six months, thanks to tips I have learnt here.

The post was about making your blog sticky, ie trying to make your readers stick with your own site and not go off visiting any others, for fear of losing readership to someone else.

Personally, I am anti-sticky. I am also against websites opening links in new windows, because my personal preference is to use one window with tabs instead. And when I am reading I like to read through a link and then return back to the site where I started without opening and closing duplicate windows.

Since I sometimes include more than a dozen links in one post, I would hate to see my readers have to open a dozen new windows just in order to read all of the links that I feature. This is one reason why I personally do not force my links to open in a new window.

It used to drive me crazy - bloggers forcing me to read their links in a new window and cluttering up my desktop with new window icons all over the place, over which I apparently had no control.

Not any more. Thanks to that post back in January, I learnt a couple of tips that have reduced the annoyance that was caused to me by all of those windows opening on my machine. Hooray for Food Blog Scool!

The first thing I learnt is that before clicking on a link you can right-mouse-button on the link and actually choose whether you want it to open in a new window or a new tab.

The second thing I learnt is that if you use firefox, you can configure its settings so that whenever a blog or website is opening a link that is intended to go to a new window - you can specify that link is put into a new tab instead.

Even though I still much prefer it if bloggers do not force their outgoing links into new windows, because that is not the way I personally like to surf, now if they do, at least I am now able to deal with it without going crazy, thanks to these tips I have learnt at Food Blog Scool.

I thought I would re-share those tips again today, incase anyone else out there was having issues with too many new windows opening on their desktop and didn't realise there is an easy way around it.

This Post was written by sam from becks&posh


mrs d said...

I can't imagine ever going back to my pre-Firefox days! Huzzah for tabs!

I'm with you on sticky. Or rather, a blog should be sticky because of good content, not because the blog owner's figured out some behind-the-scenes trick to keep people there.

Ed Charles said...

And Mac users with Safari can press Apple click to open in a tab and avoid those naughty new windows. Hurray for firefox as well and all those tab browsers - they are brilliant but I'm always amazed at people who have never heard of it.

nika said...

I have been right-clicking-tabbing links since the day I got firefox.. I HATE navigating away from a mainpage (Like Food Section) while in mid read but dont want to forget to open an interesting link.. so about 1/2 way down the food section site I have a boatload of tabs opened. I then peruse and read or not through those tabs.

William I. Lengeman III said...

Tab fanciers can also try using Opera as a Web browser. There are also some third-party add-ons for IE, but it's been a long time since I fiddled with any of those.

Sam said...

I can't even imagine adding all those new pubils to FBS with new wondows instead of tabs. It's great - since it cuts down the rsi potential too.

Any readers who havent tried tabs yet really ought to! Itmight change your surfing life!

Vanessa said...

i love tabs, but it's one of those things that i can't seem to convince people into as being better. i've officially changed my options thanks to your post so that i'm tab only!

Kalyn said...

It's a little embarassing to remember how my little 20 year old nephew showed me how to surf with tabs and I thought, big deal. Now I see what a big deal it is. I just can't even imagine using the internet without them any more. Great post Sam, just in case there are people who are as hard to convince as I was.

gilly said...

Thank you for posting this. It's good to get a consensus of how people like to navigate around the food-blogging community.

kitchenmage said...

Hrmph! I use new windows and don't consider it a trick, it's an OLD habit from back in the pre-Firefox days when most people online wanted new windows and didn't know how to get them.

What's really nice is that if you use tabs (and the context menu to get them) then whether I code for new windows or not is ignored, leaving the choice in your hands. If you use a non-tabbed browser, you get new windows; if you use a tabbed browser, you choose tabs or window (or drag the link to your address bar to open in the same window, even if it's supposed to open in a NEW window...your trick for the day)

"naughty new windows" LOL Ed, go visit McAuliflower's blog and search for cupcakes... now that's naughty... wink

Amy Sherman said...

Call me contrarian, I don't use tabs and I can't stand having to hit the "back" button endlessly if I want to check out the links in a post. It's not that I'm trying to make my blog more sticky, I just would rather have another window I can close at my convenience.

Gabriella True said...

Well, I had never heard of tabs before right now.

I have my links in my sidebar open into a new window but all links within the text of my blog open in that same window.

I like opening a new window on things.

Sam said...

I maintain that everyone has the right to do what ever they like - but i do wish that all you window forcers out there, who forced me for years to suffer the inconvenience of putting up with your multiple windows against my own will, should at least try and redress the balance now by giving tabs a try to at least see if you might like them.

It doesn't really bother me, since I now have a way to get around your window-opening tricks, but I would just like to share the joy of tabs with the world. You wouldn't believe how much it cuts down on the possibilty of RSI too. Don't dismiss it point blank. Try it for a week and then dismiss it. I tried your windows for years and I know for certain how much I don't like them. How can you say you don't like tabs if you haven't even tried. I am only trying to help.

Sam said...

ps. i bet i can blog much faster than you!

kitchenmage said...

Sam, sweetie, relax. I love tabs, have (6, 7...9...10...) 12 open in my current window as I type. But that's me as a user, not me as a developer. Besides, unless I am missing something, you would never encounter a new window if you are R-clicking and opening a new tab. So you aren't being forced to do anything. You are choosing not to accept the default settings, no matter what those defaults are.

As a user, when I open a new tab, it totally ignores the intent of the person who built the site so they could have told the link to to open a new full-screen window for all I care. I control my desktop. Period. (Well, except for some JS, but that's another hassle.)

As a developer, I want to choose whether opening a link interrupts the flow of the page to do whatever the link is doing. This means that different links do different things: in the middle of a post, they usually spawn a window; at the end of a post, they are just as likely not to. My archives currently open a new window, which I am not sure I like but it was a code artifact and it's fixed in the design I'm tweaking on the moment.

If I knew a way to target a link to a new tab in the same window, maybe I'd opt for that (although what it would do to non-tabbed browsers is a good question). Anyone know how to target a new tab?


ps Sam, I'd race you on raw speed in using a computer anyday, all keyboard. Mice are slooow no matter what. :-)

Sam said...

Hey Kitchenmage - I wasnt really adressing you - because i know that you have thought about the issues and have the experience. I do accept it now - but i didn't before I knew about the RMB click, and really this post was really about reminding less experienced people that these settings do exist.

about targetting tabs - the latest fire fox automatically opens new windows in a new tab instead if you set your firefox preference settings just so, so I no longer had the problem I once had so I am happy with new windows opening themselves in new tabs instead. I was trying to make that point - educate people about that in this original post. I just think there a lot of people who have no idea what tabs are or havent even tried them and I just think they should give it a go, that's all, before closing their minds to them, thats all.

Me personally as a developer, wouldn't dream of forcing all my links to open as new windows since i am a linkaholic and sometimes have as dozens of links in one post. I don't think anyone would like me to force them to open that many windows on their computer;)

Me as user simply hates to have a new window forced upon me (as if you didnt know that already) since I like to make that decision for myself, but luckily the software has developed enough to seamlessy take care of the problem for me. Others may not have the same problem, but when I am working i have so many programs running on my computer at the same time, I don't have the space at the bottom of screen for that many closed window icons without it becoming quickly ugly messy. Opening and closing them gives me rsi problems, as does having to push and pop them from their open state.

Also tabs have the advantage of being able to see the names of each site you have open all in the one window.

I guess the point of my post originally was to recognise the different way developers configure their sites to work but to remind people that the user actually has some control over changing what the user intended, if they so desire.

Sorry if my point didnt come across too well. Just trying to spread the love...

Amy Sherman said...

Tab pusher! (ok, ok, I'll try them again but no promises)

kitchenmage said...

Sam, does it mess with your default 'open in new tab' setting when a new window is targeted or is FF smart enough to override it? Yeah, I could test this, but I'm currently trying to figure out how to make cute rounded picture corners like @Nordjus in Photoshop Elements and I only get to melt my brain one way at a time. LOL

Sam said...

Amy - I will have to give you a demo!

It doesnt seem to,Kitchenmage
Check out an image of the available settings configurations for tabs