This feature gives the document writer a little control over where the
data appears when a user clicks on a link in their document. It is useful
as a stand alone feature with a document space that can be best viewed with
multiple top level windows (a list of subjects window, and a window
displaying the current subject), but it is most useful in conjunction
with Netscape's new
How it works
Previously when a user clicked on a link, the new document either appeared
in the window the user had clicked in, or alternately (and under the user's
control) it appeared in a new window. Targeting windows allows the document
writer to assign names to specific windows, and target certain documents to
always appear in the window bearing the matching name.
A name is assigned to a window in one of three ways:
- A document can be sent with the optional HTTP header
This will force the document to load in the window named window_name,
or if such a window does not exist, one will be created, and then
the document will be loaded in it.
- A document can be accessed via a targeted link. In this case there is
actual HTML which assigns a target window_name to a link. The
document loaded from that link will behave as if it had a Window-target
set as in method 1 above.
- A window created within a frameset can be named using the NAME
attribute to the FRAME tag. (see frames)
How the HTML looks
Targeting withing HTML is accomplished by means of the TARGET
attribute. This attribute can be added to a variety of HTML tags
to target the links referred to by that tag. The attribute is of the form:
- TARGET in an A tag.
- This is very straightforward. The anchor tag normally specifies a link
to be loaded when the active item is clicked on, adding the TARGET
attribute to the anchor tag forces the load of that link into the
targeted window. Example:
<A HREF="url" TARGET="window_name">Targeted Anchor</A>
- TARGET in the BASE tag.
- This is used when you want all (or most) of the links in a document to
be targeted to the same window. In this case the TARGET attribute
establishes a default window_name that all links in this document
will be targeted to. This default is of course overridden by specific
instances of the TARGET attribute in individual anchor tags.
- TARGET in the AREA tag.
- The IETF
Internet-Draft of Client-Side Image Maps
defines an area tag. This tag describes a shaped area in a client-side image
map, and provides the link that should be followed when the user clicks there.
Adding the TARGET attribute to the area tag forces the load of that
link into the targeted window.
- TARGET in the FORM tag.
- The form tag normally displays the results of a form submission
in the same window the form was submitted from. By adding the TARGET
attribute to the form tag, the result of the form submission is instead loaded
into the targeted window.
Allowed TARGET names
The window name specified by a TARGET attribute must begin with an
alpha-numeric character to be valid. All other window names will be ignored.
Exception: There are magic target names that all begin with the underscore
Magic TARGET names
These names all begin with the underscore character. Any targeted window
name beginning with underscore which is not one of these names, will be ignored.
- This target will cause the link to always be loaded in a new blank
window. This window is not named.
- This target causes the link to always load in the same window the anchor
was clicked in. This is useful for overriding a globally assigned
- This target makes the link load in the immediate FRAMESET parent of
this document. This defaults to acting like "_self" if the
document has no parent.
- This target makes the link load in the full body of the window.
This defaults to acting like "_self" if the document is already
at the top.
It is useful for breaking out of an arbitrarily deep FRAME nesting.
For a description of the FRAMESET
and FRAME tags, see frames.