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Perhaps the most controversial aspect of applying DHTML techniques to web sites is messing with the browser window or windowing system. On the one hand, windows are pretty much outside the scope of Dynamic HTML, in as much as windows are merely containers for documents that adhere to one object model or another. But since the earliest days, windows have been part of the scripter's bag of tricks, standing ready to enhance a user's experience or torment the user with a variety of unexpected nonsense.
Most activity surrounding windows involves the window object. Although the window object has gained a large number of properties and methods over the years, the implementation across browsers is far from uniform. Part of the reason behind the disparity of window object features in browsers is that the window object is the most global context for scripting tasks. Browsers such as Internet Explorer for Windows take advantage of this context to embed numerous properties and methods that are tied to the browser application and the Windows operating system. In contrast, Netscape Navigator (especially since Version 4) empowers the window object with properties that are so potentially threatening to user privacy that they are accessible only through scripts that are electronically tagged on the server as being from a source to whom the user has explicitly given permission to operate (called signed scripts).
6.0.1 Window Abuse
Pop-up blocking is becoming so prevalent these days, it may be sending you a message with regard to your own development: do your best to keep everything in a single window. If a user wishes to open one of your links in a new window, a choice from the browser's context menu allows this without any difficulty. Or, you can simulate a window in modern browsers with positioned elements (see Recipe 6.10).
6.0.2 Window No-Nos
The more you might like to control the user's window line up to control the viewing experience of your web site, the less that browsers allow such activity. Numerous security holes would exist if the browsers and scripting engines didn't have substantial safeguards built into them (some holes did exist in earlier browsers, but they are patched in the predominant versions surfing the Web today). Therefore, before you get any big ideas about window trickery, here is a compendium of the things you cannot do with scripted windows, even if your intentions are good ones:
The list of things you cannot do with the window object is long, but if you study the items carefully, you'll realize that although these taboo tasks may be common in standalone applications, they can be downright dangerous in an Internet environment. Respect every visitor's right to privacy and window layout.
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