Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pop-up Windows Pop-up Windows

I have spent quite a bit of time since the first of the year learning HTML, Javascript, and the DOM, as I work on putting up a Web site to advertise my legal skills. And, of course, I am a programmer at heart, having worked as such for 15 years before entering the practice of law.

One of the things that I discovered when doing this was how to create pop-up windows. You do this in Javascript by invoking the method (or function). For example, the following does the trick quite well:
owin ='', 'Trace', 'width=1000' + ',height=700' + ',resizable=yes' + ',scrollbars=yes' + ',status=yes' + ',menubar=yes'+ ',toolbar=1');

Note though that the above Javacode opens a blank window (as there is no URL specified as the first parameter). Also note that "self" is the name of the current window, and that the concatinate operator ("+") is utilized here for presentation purposes. It merely combines all of the parameters into a single (3rd) parameter. It is easier to maintain code this way.

The reason that I use pop-up windows is that they work well as a "trace" file for debugging. You can do this by:
trace = owin.document;
trace.writeln("Debugging information");

Unfortunately, to get this to work in Netscape / Mozilla / Firebird, I had to turn off Pop-Up Window prevention (in the Privacy & Security preferences). And what did I discover when I did that? That some of the web sites that I routinely visit apparently provide rotating pop-up advertisements. The most notable of these is The Drudge Report. Practically every time I switch from working on my HTML and Javacode to browsing the Web, I have this unpleasant reminder that I had forgotten to reenable the pop-up blocking. This morning, I found five of them in the background.

I had frankly forgotton that this was one of the biggest reasons that I was using the Mozilla family of browsers over Microsoft's Internet Explorer (the other big one being tabbed browsing).

The reason that pop-up windows are annoying is that you have to close them. Sometimes, you have to close a whole bunch of them. This is far more intrusive than merely ignoring ads on a Web page.

The problem with the pop-ups that Drudge provides is that they are almost always from very large companies. Companies that should know better. I am now developing a list of companies that I will not do business with soley because they are rude enough to utilize pop-up windows.

Obviously, their marketing departments believe that the tradeoff is in their favor. But I don't think that they have truly looked at the potential customers that are seriously turned off by their method of advertising. In other words, I don't think that the marketers, having found this slick new toy, realize yet that it has a big downside.

I think that I would be a lot less upset if I were getting Viagra advertisements, instead of, for example, cell phone ads by multibillion dollar companies, because I frankly expect Viagra advertisements to be sleazy. I just don't expect that of multibillion dollar companies.


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