Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Oct 7, 2009 11:06pm

breaking links

Quick pet peeve break.

I use tabs in my web browser, a lot. I especially use them in combination with my keyboard so that I can open links in new tabs: command-click in Safari means "open this link in a new tab". It lets me rack things up in the background without breaking my reading flow. This works for all normal links on the web.

It is a unique and special source of frustration to me when websites fuck about with Ajax and inadvertently break completely normal features of the web like this one. As far as I can tell, the idea is to offer regular HTML links, but introduce a javascript callback which changes them to a redirection at the moment that they are clicked. Looks like a link, but does not act like a link. Adam Greenfield writes about the potential future suckage of ubiquitous computing in just these terms: the addition of superfluous, unexpected behaviors to otherwise regular objects that no doubt seem like delight in the lab, but translate to frustration in the regular world.

Unwelcome magic.

For a long time, I thought it was just Twitter pulling this kind of thing (ask my coworkers about my occasional "fuck twitter and their stupid fucking fuck website" outbursts in the office), but recently I've started to see it being used on Wordpress blogs, even ones that aren't visibly hosted on a wordpress.com domain. I'd be a lot happier with my browsing if I didn't have to play guessing games before clicking on things - "is this a link or not a link?"

To see this behavior in action, check out the latest from Matt Jones and try to get the browser to open those links in a new tab with a command-click. It doesn't work because it needs a moment to jump you to "go2.wordpress.com".

Now back to your regularly scheduled lack of communication.

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