I started out on the web back in 2000, using Geocities' Pagebuilder to make such awesome (read: terrible) things as this... thing. Speaking of Geocities... Anyone remember that lovely little popup window that used to come up while the Pagebuilder was loading? I used to have time to have lunch before it finally loaded. Oh, the joys of dial-up... Anyway, I then moved onto Microsoft Publisher (oh dear) and FrontPage (...yep) before I realised that I actually knew how to write HTML without the need for a WYSIWYG editor.
By 2003, I found I could make layouts, too. By "layouts" I mean the type of thing that was popular then - mostly stock images plastered with 87554376967 Photoshop brushes. I was particularly proud of this one (oh dear God...) and this one (a few years later, admittedly... I had discovered the joy of CSS by then!). I had even got them to work in both IE and Firefox! Go me!
The point of this is that now, in 2012, knowing CSS 2 and HTML 4/XHTML 1 is really not that great. We're looking at HTML 5, CSS 3, jQuery, responsive design and lots of things that weren't around when I first started all this, and having had a break of sorts from all this webby business for the past few years, I find myself very much behind the times. I feel a bit weird about having to essentially relearn what I knew, but at the same time I find myself frustrated that I'm not quite up to date with everything. The same goes for PHP and Ruby - I learned PHP back when PHP 4 was just out, and Ruby/Rails when it was still on version 1.8.5/Rails 1.2. I've been dipping in and out and getting up to scratch where I can, but I still think I've got a long way to go. Now to find the time to do all this learning...
I get asked quite a lot why my links don't open in new windows, and could I please add
target="new" - which is incorrect) to them? The answer to that is no. I have never used
target="_blank" on my site, except when I used popup windows (ewww, I know). And even then I wasn't happy about doing it. Especially now, when I validate to doctypes that don't support the
Ok, I do have my Firefox settings set to ignore
target="_blank", but why should I have to change my settings because of your site? I don't like being told how I'm going to go to a link. I want to choose for myself whether I am going to open a new window, a new tab, a new browser, or reuse the same page. I want links to follow what I've told my browser I want to happen. Usually, I reuse the same page. However, I never ever have more than one browser window open, and that is how I want it to stay, thank you very much. I can't stand cluttered desktops/taskbars where I don't know which window contains what. At least with tabs I can rename them and order them and whatever else (Firefox extensions FTW!1!).
This behaviour stems from the times of IE6 and other non-tabbed browsers, however is still being used today - people don't want visitors leaving their sites, so they force another browser window to open. On my old computer this was a nightmare - it couldn't cope with more than one instance of IE and opening another (by choice or otherwise) resulted in the whole thing crashing. Likewise, my current computer is getting slower and more dodgy every day, and opening an instance of Firefox/IE/anything takes it quite a while (yes, I have defragmented/taken off spyware/viruses/etc. It's just getting old). That's another reason I only have one FF window open, actually, heh. To those people (who don't want visitors leaving their sites) I say this: if your site is worth visiting, people will go back to it. You don't have to force them to stay on your site. In most cases, they will end up closing your site's window anyway.
So my point (I do have one, honest): please don't use
target="_blank". It's not only inaccessible, but it's a nuisance to those of us such as myself (and it's not just me) who dislike our default settings being overridden. Let the user choose how to open links. Like I said, if your site is really worth staying on, people will stay on it. There is no need to force them to do so.
I really don't know how I used to cope with using pagebuilders. Seriously... I'm having to use Dreamweaver for an assignment and it is really REALLY annoying me. Whenever I want to code stuff manually (which I prefer to do anyway, instead of rooting through all the menus to find the thing I want) it adds stupid tags in that don't need to be there. Whenever you finish writing a tag it adds in the closing tag. Say for example you forgot to put a link somewhere, so you're typing the
<a href="whatever" around the text you want to link. Then you type the final
> and straight away it 'helpfully' writes
</a> for you. I don't want the
</a> there! I want it at the end of my text!!! AAAAAHHH! *beats it*
So yeah, could have got this stupid project finished ages ago if it wasn't for having to use this program. Grrr.
And they say Dreamweaver's the best program out there... Well, I used to use Frontpage (5 years ago!) and although that still holds the crown for Most Annoying Web Page Designing Program (TM, lol!) DW is coming pretty close. It might try to make things easier for me by adding in a bunch of stuff it thinks I need, but at least it makes sure my code is valid and that it's cross-browser compatible. Unlike FP. FP had a habit of putting <font> tags around every single piece of text it could find, and when you tried to define stuff in CSS, it complained.
Ok I'm done.