Popup windows are not always desirable and are most likely frowned upon by many due to it being infamous for being used to open advertisements. However there may be a genuine need for opening links in a popup window in web applications. In this post, I will show how we can easily define click behavior on links to open them in a popup along with some customization options such as sizing the popup window.
Open Link in a Popup Window
Normally links get opened in the same window in which they are clicked in. In order to open them in a new window, we add
target="_blank" attribute to links. However to open the links in a separate popup window, we can make use of the
window.open as shown below.
onclick attribute. We are passing the URL to be opened in popup along with the width and height of the popup window that we want to create. By adding
return false we are ensuring that the default click action is not executed.
Demo of Popup Window
Click on the button below to see the above code in action. A popup window of size 600×600 should get created and it should open the link that we specified.
While this kind of popup should not be blocked by the browser as we are opening just one new window on user click, however if your browser is over-aggressive in blocking popups then you may need to temporarily disable the popup blocker in order to see it in action.
As seen in the screen-clip below, the popup window that we created will be re-sizable by the user and will also have its own address-bar as well as the scrollbar.
Having the popup window re-sizable and scrollable by the user is the most ideal case when you are creating popups. Not being able to resize or scroll a popup window might frustrate some users. However if you have a specific use case where you want to disable scrolling as well as resizing on the popup window then read on to do these customizations.
Customizing Popup Window
In the most basic form as we saw above, the popup window will allow users to resize, scroll and change the address of it. In certain cases, you may want to disallow such actions on the popup window. In order to achieve that, we need to pass on additional parameters to the
window.open method. These additional parameters that can be used are as follows:
Note that not all of these parameters are supported by all the browsers and therefore you may not have a uniform behavior if you specify them. For e.g. lets see a use-case below
Disable resizing and scrolling in popup window
To disable resizing and scrolling in the popup window, specify
You will find that disabling the resizing of popup window is only supported in Internet Explorer and will not work in Chrome or Firefox. Additionally, hiding the scrollbar will work in Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox and Opera but not in Chrome.
Open Link in New Window vs Popup Window
Before you go all crazy with popup windows, do take a moment to decide whether you really want to adopt the popup behavior vs opening links in a new window. A link can be opened in a new window (or in a new tab) by simple adding the
target="_blank" attribute to links like shown below. These kinds of links are never blocked by the popup blocker while opening.
To conclude, I would restate that unless you have a very specific reason, opening links in popup window should be avoided as much as possible. But when you really have the need to do it, open just one link at a time and disable the default link behavior in order to avoid popup blockers and to give better experience to the user.