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A FAQ of Sorts

These are my oft-answered responses to Frequently Asked Questions in the various Usenet newsgroups that I read. It seems simpler to refer a questioner here, rather than looking up stuff to repost over and over.

  1. Am I Transitioning?
  2. Offsite Links in your pages
  3. Be Flexible

Offsite Links

Let me decide.

Be kind to your web site visitors. Allow them to decide if they want new windows or tabs; don't force them with target="_blank" or other silliness. Surfers who use maximized browsers may not realize the new page has opened in a new window completely covering the existing one, and will wonder why their Back Button is broken. When they can't return to your site, they will just go to Google and look for something else to read. Sometime later, when they are finished surfing and close the browser, they will discover your site (and its window) underneath. But meanwhile, they may have purchased your widget somewhere else.

Instead of a new window, give your visitors a clue that you are sending them off your site with this rather simple addition. Depending on how you write your code, this could be a macro, a called function from a common file (an "include"), a common library function, or a copy'n'paste. The little image will alert the visitors to what might happen with your link. Sample code:

<a href="http://example.com/offsitelink.html">Your link text 
<img src="images/offsite.png" alt="&#8599;" 
title="External Site: Right-Click and Open in New Tab/Window" 
height="10" width="10"></a>

Note the alt attribute: it is a character showing a northeast-facing arrow ( ↗ ), simulating the image when it is not available. For best results, leave one space after "Your link text " and close with the </a> immediately after the image element.

You've probably noticed these pages are written in PHP. Inserting the above image element into the HTML is done by calling a common function thusly:

<a href="http://example.com/offsitelink.html">Your link text 
<?php extimg(); ?></a>

...and the common function in your library is this:

function extimg() {
/* Sample: use: <?php extimg(); ?> in HTML */
echo "<img src='/your/path/to/offsite.png' alt='↗' 
title='External Site: Right-Click and Open in New Tab/Window' 
height='10' width='10'> ";
}

Here's the image I use: ↗ and linked here: offsite.png. There are many similar images available for swiping from the WWW.


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