So do you all agree I should set up the dropdown menu items to open in a new window?
I say that its behaviour should be consistent with normal hyperlinks. If clicking on a normal hyperlink opens a new window, so be it. If clicking on a normal hyperlink opens a page on the same window I think these links which look like green hyperlinks should do so. I would want a new tab or new window to open only if I explicitly say so, by control clicking or selecting new tab or new window by a menu.
See my idea is that I am going to use the links in the dropdown menu to investigate the particular term more closely. Whether it's via a google search or site search, it's most likely going to be a journey that is at least a couple of pageviews long while I learn and research. What this means is that I've already read the initial post and gotten everything out of it, and it's now pointed me in another direction to continue learning, so I'm over and done with that post already. Time to move on :) For example, take the post:
You may wish to get more information about the [search]round robin algorithm[/search].
You're going to read the entire post before you go off looking to do a google search for round robin algorithm. And once you do, you're going to end up at one of the pages that the search returned, etc. It's all part of what intertangles the world wide web. Should all of these things really be opened in new window over new window over new window?
What I'm trying to say is that it seems to me that you wouldn't go off and start doing a search or more research until you've already gotten all you could out of the page you were currently on, giving you no reason to need to return to the page at all.
Hmm.. ok I will put another senario in front of you.
I read the post, do the research, get stuck again (which is almost natural) and then open up another window, reload the Daniweb home page, goto C++ forums, try to find the one posted by me, open it, then start describing the problem.
That brings me back to the whole nature of the interlinking world wide web ... we invariably always end up at the same pages we visited once upon a time. In doing your research, perhaps you were able to solve the problem but encountered another problem, in which case you would need to post a new thread. Or, perhaps this dropdown didn't exist at all, and your search took you across a selection of threads within the forum, and you invariably wanted to return back to your original post. That's the nature of the world wide web and the original idea of hyperlinking documents all linking back to each other one way or another ... in the end, even after hours of research, you end up back where you started. So should all links open in a new window since eventually you'll want to go back to where you once were?
My opinion is this: I think that a new tab/window should open if we hold down the browser's preset key to do so; if not, then it shouldn't.
Not only does Firefox not open a new tab when holding down the Apple (Control) key, but Opera has the same problem. And this goes for almost any drop-down menu here: if you click on someone's username that's above their post, you will get a drop down menu, and no matter how much you hold down that Apple/Control key, the page will always open in the same window.
I'm not sure if this is a browser bug or not, but if it would be possible to fix this, it would not bother me having to hold down a key to open the link in a new tab.
The way I generally work on forums is this:
I will open each thread from one forum in different tabs. While looking at one of the threads if a link looks interesting, I will click the link to get the new window open (or in another tab). I'm generally not ready to look at that page yet, but don't want to lose it or search for it later. Finish the thread, then check that link.
On to the next thread.
In non forums I tend to do a similar thing, just mostly in new tabs instead of windows.