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Popup Blocker Detection

Hi,

We have a database application that runs in a popup Internet Explorer
application window. The reason for this is to isolate the casual user
from the address bar and the typical IE navigation buttons.

The application has a browser test page that displays an error message
when a popup blocker is found and opens a popup page stating the test
was successfull if there is no popup blocker.

Is there a reliable method (preferably javascript) for detecting the
major popup blockers (SP2, AOL, Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc.)? We currently
have a temporary solution in place which works OK but we would like to
have a better solution.

We have already reasearched this on the net, as well as spent a few
hours trying different options.

The application is designed to run on MSIE only so the solution can be
Explorer specific.

Thanks,
Raffi

Jul 23 '05 #1
26 6819
Raffi wrote:
We have a database application that runs in a popup Internet Explorer
application window. The reason for this is to isolate the casual user
from the address bar and the typical IE navigation buttons.
God, do I hate that. Can't stop loading the frickin page, can't reload
it, can't go back, can't easily see the URL, nothing. So much about
reasons not to like pops like that. Can anybody come up with a
plausible reason why this kind of uncontrollable pops are a good idea
for some users?
Is there a reliable method (preferably javascript) for detecting the
major popup blockers (SP2, AOL, Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc.)
Loks to me like somebody working on state of the art intrusive
advertising technology is asking user community for help. I may be
wrong, so please tell us what kind of app this really is.
The application is designed to run on MSIE only so the solution can be
Explorer specific.


Sure. Reaching 70% of the users is good enough in only one environment:
Advertising. Please tell me I'm wrong.
Jul 23 '05 #2

Greg N. wrote:
Raffi wrote:
We have a database application that runs in a popup Internet Explorer application window. The reason for this is to isolate the casual user from the address bar and the typical IE navigation buttons.
God, do I hate that. Can't stop loading the frickin page, can't

reload it, can't go back, can't easily see the URL, nothing. So much about
reasons not to like pops like that. Can anybody come up with a
plausible reason why this kind of uncontrollable pops are a good idea for some users?
Is there a reliable method (preferably javascript) for detecting the major popup blockers (SP2, AOL, Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc.)
Loks to me like somebody working on state of the art intrusive
advertising technology is asking user community for help. I may be
wrong, so please tell us what kind of app this really is.
The application is designed to run on MSIE only so the solution can be Explorer specific.


Sure. Reaching 70% of the users is good enough in only one

environment: Advertising. Please tell me I'm wrong.

Well, you're wrong. But considering the amount of crap on the internet,
I don't really blame you. The application is a web based database and
data analysis program which is used by a non computer savvy audience.
We designed it to be simple and for the user to navigate through the
application using the navigation buttons integrated in the
appliacation. Also, the program launches reports using popups to keep
the main session screen intact. That should be enough information to
dispell any ill intent.

BTW, I'm a strong believer of popup blockers. I have 2 of them on my
PC. Popups when used properly are a great tool. Sadly though,
legitimate applications that use popups have become more cumbersome to
implement because of their misuse.

Raffi

Jul 23 '05 #3
Raffi wrote:
Greg N. wrote:
Raffi wrote:

[snip] So much about reasons not to like pops like that. Can
anybody come up with a plausible reason why this kind of
uncontrollable pops are a good idea for some users?

As a pop-up, no. As an application, sure.
Is there a reliable method (preferably javascript) for detecting
major popup blockers (SP2, AOL, Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc.)


Loks to me like somebody working on state of the art intrusive
advertising technology is asking user community for help. I may be
wrong, so please tell us what kind of app this really is.
[snip]


[snip] The application is a web based database and data analysis
program which is used by a non computer savvy audience. We designed
it to be simple and for the user to navigate through the application
using the navigation buttons integrated in the appliacation. Also,
the program launches reports using popups to keep the main session
screen intact. That should be enough information to dispell any ill
intent.

I have to be honest and admit that I can see no reason whatsoever for it
now. If you need web-rendering, but not a browser, and you are writing
it for an application then why the hell not actually WRITE an application?

Surely it is a lot easier just to drop an HTML control into a simple
application rather than all this buggering around with a (relatively)
standard browser?
Jul 23 '05 #4
In article <11************ **********@z14g 2000cwz.googleg roups.com>,
th*********@yah oo.com enlightened us with...
Is there a reliable method (preferably javascript) for detecting the major popup blockers (SP2, AOL, Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc.)


No. If there were, don't you think all the baddies would have found it by
now? ;)

And even if there really were, do you think we'd post it here, were anyone
wanting to abuse it could find it?
Your intentions might be perfectly benign, but any idiot can read these
public newsgroups.

Do what everyone else with a legit need for popups does -- put a message
there telling your users that your site uses popups and to put it in their
allow list or whatever.
Also, most blockers block *unrequested* popups. So if the user really IS
clicking on something and it pops a new window, that shouldn't be blocked
anyway.

--
--
~kaeli~
God was my co-pilot... but then we crashed in the mountains
and I had to eat him.
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/wildAtHeart
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/kaelisSpace

Jul 23 '05 #5
Mark Preston wrote:
I have to be honest and admit that I can see no reason whatsoever for it
now. If you need web-rendering, but not a browser, and you are writing
it for an application then why the hell not actually WRITE an application?

Surely it is a lot easier just to drop an HTML control into a simple
application rather than all this buggering around with a (relatively)
standard browser?


There are lots of reasons that applications are being implemented as web
applications and, believe it or not, they're legitimate reasons. I know,
I know, *you've* never seen the reasons, but I'm pretty sure you haven't
faced every software problem in existence (though I've been wrong before).

Yours is a typical reaction in web development discussions when someone
asks how to do something restrictive or authoritarian: an assumption
that we're talking about a web "site" that is publicly available and
fits your idea of a "site". The thing is, there's an AWFUL lot of web
work that is done outside of that scope. Over the last 5 years, well
over 85% of the web development I've done and participated in
development is behind the firewall. We're talking about projects costing
over $3 million and used by 10's of thousands of users, all of whom work
for the same company. Is that a lot of money for a web application?
Absolutely. In several of those cases, did the previous non-web
application (the one you insist must be easier to build) cost $5-6
million in total costs for similar effort? Yes, again.

When you're talking about deploying a critical piece of software that
was already needing the client/server model, the web is often much
cheaper than the alternative. You can standardize the clients/browsers
and deploy bugfixes, enhancements and upgrades to all machines by simply
upgrading the web app on the web server. You don't need to fight with
pushing out software upgrades across the world or FedEx'ing CD-ROM's all
over the place. You also don't need to worry about users cancelling the
upgrade (to bypass the interruption) and continuing to use an old
client. You can also control the machine where the application itself is
installed, since it's entirely on the server. There's no trying to
figure out why a certain desktop won't let the app install only to find
out some stupid screensaver they added has messed up their registry. The
cycle for making changes in response to the users' feedback is also
drastically improved. Couple that with roaming users who use the same
application across multiple machines and maintaining consistency and
you've got just a few of the major reasons why something that would be
an irritating faux pas on the web at large (popups used for advertising)
turn into a much appreciated feature (new windows used as modal dialogs
for an application) in a different setting.

Here in reality, deployment, support, etc. often cost more than the
developer time to build the application in the first place.

In my current application, we use new windows as a destination for Excel
exports. Users specifically requested the functionality to enable them
to have several exported reports open simultaneously to do comparisons
before deciding exactly which report to finally export and save. For the
most part, this didn't cause problems because 90% of the users of this
application are using locked down machines in common areas. However, the
remaining 10% are using their work desktop machine and several have
installed additional popup blockers, resulting in complaints.

In this case, this is a very small drop in the bucket (as are most of
these types of issues) that would just be nice to solve with a quick bit
of JS (a 20 minute solution, costing the project very little).
Jul 23 '05 #6
In article <Xv************ ********@speake asy.net>, jw****@speakeas y.net says...
However, the
remaining 10% are using their work desktop machine and several have
installed additional popup blockers, resulting in complaints.


Most popup blockers have settting where you can ALLOW popups from specific
domains, have you tried notifying your users to modify those settings?
Jul 23 '05 #7
In article <d4************ *******@news.de mon.co.uk>, us****@nosource .co.uk
enlightened us with...
>
I have to be honest and admit that I can see no reason whatsoever for it
now. If you need web-rendering, but not a browser, and you are writing
it for an application then why the hell not actually WRITE an application?


Off the top of my head...
* Banking applications.
* Intranet applications with multiple OSs in use (no installation necessary)
-- this was the reason my biggest web app came to be.
* Intranet applications with multiple OS versions in use (same).
* CD-ROM applications.
* Financial / trading applications.
* B2B applications

All of those do very well as web applications and not so well as installed
applications. Not to mention the ease of patching web applications. Plus,
using SSL and other technologies to ensure the security and privacy of data
sent between the client and the server is, IMO, much easier to do than trying
to run encryption algorithms and protect ports on multiple PCs where you
don't know who has what else installed. I'm no security expert by any means,
though, so take that last bit with a grain of newbie-ness.
Surely it is a lot easier just to drop an HTML control into a simple
application rather than all this buggering around with a (relatively)
standard browser?


You don't code installed applications, do you? ;)
I've had to a couple times.
I promise you that it isn't as easy as just dropping a control onto a form
and thinking it will work for every person who tries to use the application,
whether they have windows 95 or windows 2000 professional SPx. Or, $diety
forbid, you're stuck with users who have windows, users who have macs, and
users who have solaris. Like we do here.
Not to mention the fact that only certain development technologies even HAVE
a browser component (mostly I'm thinking .net). You don't want to try to
write a rendering engine yourself, with a JS interpreter and all, do you?

--
--
~kaeli~
A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless
interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an
otherwise dull day.
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/wildAtHeart
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/kaelisSpace

Jul 23 '05 #8
kaeli wrote:
In article <d4************ *******@news.de mon.co.uk>, us****@nosource .co.uk enlightened us with...
> I have to be honest and admit that I can see no reason whatsoever for it now. If you need web-rendering, but not a browser, and you are writing it for an application then why the hell not actually WRITE an application?


Off the top of my head...
* Banking applications.
* Intranet applications with multiple OSs in use (no installation

necessary) -- this was the reason my biggest web app came to be.
* Intranet applications with multiple OS versions in use (same).
* CD-ROM applications.
* Financial / trading applications.
* B2B applications

All of those do very well as web applications and not so well as installed applications. Not to mention the ease of patching web applications. Plus, using SSL and other technologies to ensure the security and privacy of data sent between the client and the server is, IMO, much easier to do than trying to run encryption algorithms and protect ports on multiple PCs where you don't know who has what else installed. I'm no security expert by any means, though, so take that last bit with a grain of newbie-ness.
Surely it is a lot easier just to drop an HTML control into a simple application rather than all this buggering around with a (relatively) standard browser?
You don't code installed applications, do you? ;)
I've had to a couple times.
I promise you that it isn't as easy as just dropping a control onto a

form and thinking it will work for every person who tries to use the application, whether they have windows 95 or windows 2000 professional SPx. Or, $diety forbid, you're stuck with users who have windows, users who have macs, and users who have solaris. Like we do here.
Not to mention the fact that only certain development technologies even HAVE a browser component (mostly I'm thinking .net). You don't want to try to write a rendering engine yourself, with a JS interpreter and all, do you?
--
--
~kaeli~
A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless
interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an
otherwise dull day.
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/wildAtHeart
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/kaelisSpace

Thanks for the good responses. Though not providing an actual solution,
they do cover the reasons why we went with an IE based client
interface. It would have been nice if popup blockers had some practical
exclousions built in, like allowing popups on secure connections from
authenticated hosts? This would solve our problem since the application
only accepts HTTPS connections.

Raffi

Jul 23 '05 #9
In article <11************ **********@l41g 2000cwc.googleg roups.com>,
th*********@yah oo.com enlightened us with...


Thanks for the good responses. Though not providing an actual solution,
they do cover the reasons why we went with an IE based client
interface. It would have been nice if popup blockers had some practical
exclousions built in, like allowing popups on secure connections from
authenticated hosts? This would solve our problem since the application
only accepts HTTPS connections.


There is another possible solution, especially since you only have one
browser to worry about.
Don't use popups at all.
Use "fake" popups. Floating DIVS styled to look like windows (can be moved,
"minimized" (hidden, really) etc) that get their dynamic content from the
server. This is quite possible now, though it is somewhat new.
xmlhttp
http://www.15seconds.com/issue/020606.htm

The downside is that it isn't an independent window, so it can't be open when
the main window is out of focus, and it won't retain state by itself if the
window content is reloaded, but for this type of app, it doesn't sound like
that would be a bad thing, anyway. And since it doesn't instantiate a new IE
instance, it uses less memory, too.

Just a thought.

--
--
~kaeli~
What do they use to ship styrofoam?
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/wildAtHeart
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/kaelisSpace

Jul 23 '05 #10

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