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Close a window if it is already open

P: n/a
I open a new window from the current window to display maps.

Several maps of different sizes can be displayed. The function is given the
size of the map and adjusts the window size accordingly.

If a new window is already open, the new map sizes are ignored and the new
map is is either too small for the existing "new" window or too big, which
is a more serious problem!

I've tried to fix this by closing the new window if it is already open using
the code below, but to no avail. It seems the typeof(MapWindow) is always
undefined. The function is in a .js file. Is it all right to declare global
variables in a .js file?

Any help much appreciated.

var MapWindow;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(typeof(MapWindow) != "undefined" && MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth + ",height=" +
vheight +
",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}
Sep 20 '05 #1
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18 Replies


P: n/a
ASM
Roger Withnell wrote:
I open a new window from the current window to display maps.

Several maps of different sizes can be displayed. The function is given the
size of the map and adjusts the window size accordingly.

If a new window is already open, the new map sizes are ignored and the new
map is is either too small for the existing "new" window or too big, which
is a more serious problem!

I've tried to fix this by closing the new window if it is already open using
the code below, but to no avail. It seems the typeof(MapWindow) is always
undefined. The function is in a .js file. Is it all right to declare global
variables in a .js file?

Any help much appreciated.

var MapWindow;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(typeof(MapWindow) != "undefined" && MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth + ",height=" +
vheight +
",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}


var MapWindow=null;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight) (
if(MapWindow || !MapWindow.closed) MapWindow.close();
MapWindow=window.open(src,'','width='+vwidth+',hei ght='+vheight+',top=100,left=10');
}
--
Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac
Sep 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
ASM wrote:
Roger Withnell wrote:
I open a new window from the current window to display maps.

Several maps of different sizes can be displayed. The function is
given the size of the map and adjusts the window size accordingly.

If a new window is already open, the new map sizes are ignored and the
new map is is either too small for the existing "new" window or too
big, which is a more serious problem!

I've tried to fix this by closing the new window if it is already open
using the code below, but to no avail. It seems the typeof(MapWindow)
is always undefined. The function is in a .js file. Is it all right
to declare global variables in a .js file?

Any help much appreciated.

var MapWindow;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(typeof(MapWindow) != "undefined" && MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth +
",height=" + vheight +
",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}

var MapWindow=null;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight) (
if(MapWindow || !MapWindow.closed) MapWindow.close();


Ooops? Try:

if(MapWindow && !MapWindow.closed) MapWindow.close();
---------------^^
MapWindow=window.open(src,'','width='+vwidth+',hei ght='+vheight+',top=100,left=10');

}


To the OP:

You'll get gripes about the usability of non-resizable windows without
scrollbars.

Try this reference:

<URL:http://www.mozilla.org/docs/dom/domref/dom_window_ref76.html>

There are many usability issues with opening new windows, it should be
avoided as much as possible. Do not try to prevent users from re-sizing
the window themselves - most browsers will stop you from enforcing this
anyway.

You should allow the user to decide where the link opens - what if they
want it to open in a tab instead?

--
Rob
Sep 21 '05 #3

P: n/a
Thanks for this but still can't get it to close the window if it is open.

Tried your code and changed it slightly as follows:

function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(MapWindow != null)
{
if(MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
}
alert(MapWindow);
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth + ",height=" + vheight + ",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}

The alert always gives MapWindow = null.

Any ideas?

"ASM" <st*********************@wanadoo.fr.invalid> wrote in message news:43***********************@news.wanadoo.fr...
Roger Withnell wrote:
I open a new window from the current window to display maps.

Several maps of different sizes can be displayed. The function is given the
size of the map and adjusts the window size accordingly.

If a new window is already open, the new map sizes are ignored and the new
map is is either too small for the existing "new" window or too big, which
is a more serious problem!

I've tried to fix this by closing the new window if it is already open using
the code below, but to no avail. It seems the typeof(MapWindow) is always
undefined. The function is in a .js file. Is it all right to declare global
variables in a .js file?

Any help much appreciated.

var MapWindow;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(typeof(MapWindow) != "undefined" && MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth + ",height=" +
vheight +
",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}


var MapWindow=null;
function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight) (
if(MapWindow || !MapWindow.closed) MapWindow.close();
MapWindow=window.open(src,'','width='+vwidth+',hei ght='+vheight+',top=100,left=10');
}


--
Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac

Sep 21 '05 #4

P: n/a
Roger Withnell wrote:
Thanks for this but still can't get it to close the window if it is open.
Tried your code and changed it slightly as follows:

function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(MapWindow != null)
{
if(MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
}
alert(MapWindow);
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth +
",height=" + vheight +
",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}
The alert always gives MapWindow = null.

Any ideas?

1.) The alert(MapWindow) came before the MapWindow was assigned
so that would keep it from working the first time through

2.) self.MapWindow would probably work better than just MapWindow
so that it would be their the second time through

3.) If your calling this function from the opened window, keep in mind
that the path to the variable would end up being something like
window.opener.MapWindow as opposed to self.MapWindow,
which script calls from inside the opener window would use


--
--.
--=<> Dr. Clue (A.K.A. Ian A. Storms) <>=-- C++,HTML, CSS,Javascript
--=<> http://resume.drclue.net <>=-- AJAX, SOAP, XML, HTTP
--=<> http://www.drclue.net <>=-- SERVLETS,TCP/IP, SQL
--.
Sep 21 '05 #5

P: n/a
RobG <rg***@iinet.net.au> wrote:
There are many usability issues with opening new windows, it should be
avoided as much as possible. Do not try to prevent users from re-sizing
the window themselves - most browsers will stop you from enforcing this
anyway.
Will they? My experience has been that common browsers do respect the
programmer's wishes in this respect. I'm not claiming that it's a
good idea, of course.
You should allow the user to decide where the link opens - what if they
want it to open in a tab instead?


Then they're either not using IE or will be dreadfully disappointed :-)

--
Christopher Benson-Manica | I *should* know what I'm talking about - if I
ataru(at)cyberspace.org | don't, I need to know. Flames welcome.
Sep 21 '05 #6

P: n/a
ASM
Roger Withnell wrote:
Thanks for this but still can't get it to close the window if it is open.

Tried your code and changed it slightly as follows:

function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight)
{
if(MapWindow != null)
{
if(MapWindow.closed == false)
{
MapWindow.close();
}
}
alert(MapWindow);
MapWindow = window.open(src, "NewWindow", "width=" + vwidth + ",height=" + vheight + ",left=100,top=100,resizable=no,toolbar=no,scrollb ars=no,menubar=no");
MapWindow.focus();
}

The alert always gives MapWindow = null.


try with

MapWindow = false;

function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight) {
if(MapWindow != false && MapWindow.closed == false)
MapWindow.close();
alert(MapWindow); // would allways have to say : 'false' (or undefined ?)
MapWindow = wind .....

step 1 : MapWindow is false -> alert says 'false' -> popup opens
step 2 : MapWindow is a popup (so MapWindow is not false)
step 3 : re-open popup yet opened
MapWindow is not false and window MapWindow not closed
step 4 : popup MapWindow is closed -> MapWindow is undefined
-> alert says 'undefined'

I prefer to use :

function OpenMapWindow(src, vwidth, vheight) {
if(MapWindow && !MapWindow.closed) MapWindow.close();

which means :
if MapWindow is something and popup MapWindow is not closed
then close popup MapWindow

Did you read what RobG said ?

Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac
Sep 21 '05 #7

P: n/a
Christopher Benson-Manica wrote:
RobG <rg***@iinet.net.au> wrote:
There are many usability issues with opening new windows,
it should be avoided as much as possible. Do not try to
prevent users from re-sizing the window themselves - most
browsers will stop you from enforcing this anyway.
Will they? My experience has been that common browsers do
respect the programmer's wishes in this respect. I'm not
claiming that it's a good idea, of course.


Your impression is probably the result of not looking very hard. There
are no desktop browsers on which the user's desire to prevent the
re-sizing of a window cannot be enforced (because it can be enforced by
external software). The same goes for all 'chrome' specifications. Many
browsers also provide a configurable setting that prevents window
re-sizing (either enabled or disabled by default, depending on the
browser). I believe this even extends to the latest SP for IE.
You should allow the user to decide where the link opens - what if
they want it to open in a tab instead?


Then they're either not using IE


Microsoft's Windows IE browsers is capable of being embedded in other
applications, and there are a number of applications that represent
alternative GUI styles of web browsers that employ the IE web browser
control as the display device. These include tabbed browsers (and they
cannot easily be distinguished form any 'normal' version of IE (because
they pretty much are)).
or will be dreadfully disappointed


In an e-commerce context disappointing the user is not a particularly
profitable practice.

Richard.
Sep 21 '05 #8

P: n/a
ASM
Richard Cornford wrote:
Christopher Benson-Manica wrote:
RobG <rg***@iinet.net.au> wrote:

Will they? My experience has been that common browsers do
respect the programmer's wishes in this respect. I'm not
claiming that it's a good idea, of course.
Your impression is probably the result of not looking very hard. There
are no desktop browsers on which the user's desire to prevent the
re-sizing of a window cannot be enforced (because it can be enforced by
external software). The same goes for all 'chrome' specifications. Many
browsers also provide a configurable setting that prevents window
re-sizing (either enabled or disabled by default, depending on the
browser). I believe this even extends to the latest SP for IE.


If some users did set their browser in so much incapabilities
become their own problem : they will not get this so pretty window
exactly decorated, sized an positioned all for their alone own comfort.
It is very sad, but they'll get the last photo of nose of grand ma'
somewhere lost in their ugly tab of their horrible chromed from dead
browser with no other opportunity to come back to main and so exciting
context content of this marvelous site they have hardly found without
pushing their back button or changing tab view.

Seriously, on my idea, it is not worse than domly threw large divs
flashing over main context the visitor can't (or don't know how to)
close or put away.

There are so many way to annoy visitor
a little popup will not be worst.
Microsoft's Windows IE browsers is capable of being embedded in other
applications,
and other applications can be embedded in browsers
and the snake bites its tail.
and there are a number of applications that represent
alternative GUI styles of web browsers that employ the IE web browser
control as the display device. These include tabbed browsers (and they
cannot easily be distinguished form any 'normal' version of IE (because
they pretty much are)).


What that has to see with to close a window ?
or will be dreadfully disappointed


In an e-commerce context disappointing the user is not a particularly
profitable practice.


Buyers are yet well educated ...

In some e-commerce zoom on articles does in popup
You can see both detail and description without having
to tab right/left as a mad person
I don't think buyers already knocked out by Christmas tree
presentation will leave the site if they have been able
to accept all these flashing advertisements
only for a nice popup ...
--
Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac
Sep 21 '05 #9

P: n/a
ASM wrote:
<snip>
If some users did set their browser in so much incapabilities
become their own problem : they will not get this so
pretty window exactly decorated, sized an positioned all
for their alone own comfort. It is very sad, but they'll get the last photo of nose of
grand ma' somewhere lost in their ugly tab of their horrible
chromed from dead browser with no other opportunity to come
back to main and so exciting context content of this
marvelous site they have hardly found without pushing their
back button or changing tab view.

Seriously, on my idea, it is not worse than domly threw
large divs flashing over main context the visitor can't
(or don't know how to) close or put away.

There are so many way to annoy visitor
a little popup will not be worst. and other applications can be embedded in browsers
and the snake bites its tail. What that has to see with to close a window ? Buyers are yet well educated ...

In some e-commerce zoom on articles does in popup
You can see both detail and description without having
to tab right/left as a mad person I don't think
buyers already knocked out by Christmas tree
presentation will leave the site if they have been
able to accept all these flashing advertisements
only for a nice popup ...


I don't want to discourage you from attempting to write in English, but
here you have failed.

Richard.
Sep 21 '05 #10

P: n/a
ASM
Richard Cornford wrote:
ASM wrote:

I don't want to discourage you from attempting to write in English, but
here you have failed.


My english is so ugly ?
or
did I understand nothing (anything?) ?
--
Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac
Sep 21 '05 #11

P: n/a
ASM wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote:
ASM wrote:

I don't want to discourage you from attempting to write in English, but
here you have failed.

My english is so ugly ?
or
did I understand nothing (anything?) ?


We got the gist of it Stephane - but arguing that pop-ups are OK because
there are worse things foisted upon surfers is not really the point.

I may think TB is less severe than cancer, but I'd rather have neither.
--
Rob
Sep 21 '05 #12

P: n/a
Richard Cornford <Ri*****@litotes.demon.co.uk> wrote:
Your impression is probably the result of not looking very hard. There
are no desktop browsers on which the user's desire to prevent the
re-sizing of a window cannot be enforced (because it can be enforced by
external software). The same goes for all 'chrome' specifications. Many
browsers also provide a configurable setting that prevents window
re-sizing (either enabled or disabled by default, depending on the
browser). I believe this even extends to the latest SP for IE.


I had forgotten about those user-configurable settings.

--
Christopher Benson-Manica | I *should* know what I'm talking about - if I
ataru(at)cyberspace.org | don't, I need to know. Flames welcome.
Sep 21 '05 #13

P: n/a
ASM wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote:
I don't want to discourage you from attempting to write
in English, but here you have failed.


My english is so ugly ?
or
did I understand nothing (anything?) ?


I cannot say how much you understood. I can say that your post did not
convey much meaning. My impression is that it suffered from being too
much of a word-for-word translation from a French original containing
idioms that do not lend themselves to that sort of treatment.

For example, I observer the use of the words "the last photo of nose of
grand ma'", and you have previously used the phrase "last photo of my
mother in law". I suspect that these forms of words have more
significance in French, but it is in French culture that they find their
significance and the meaning is lost in a direct word-for-word
translation into English.

I asked one of my French colleagues if he could shed any light on this,
but he could not. I think he was also slightly baffled by your post.
However, we had a discussion about French and English idioms and the
problems of translating between the two. It is surprising how many
French and English proverbs and saying are amenable to a virtually
word-for-word translation, such as "it is as plain as the nose on your
face", which is nearly identical in French (the same words expressing
the same concept).

On the other hand, there are plenty of expressions of particular
concepts used in French that do not have a similar meaning once directly
translated into English. My colleague suggested the example:-

Ne batis pas de chateaux en Espagne.

- translated as:-

Don't build castles in Spain.

- apparently as an expression of worthless/pointless activity (if I
understood correctly). The English translation of the phrase, while easy
to understand as such, carries no such connotations. Stating "Don't
build castles in Spain" to a British native would be likely to result in
bewilderment.

We could not agree on an English expression that would be a precise
translation of the concept expressed by "Ne batis pas de chateaux en
Espagne", but it seems that the common saying:-

Don't carry coals to Newcastle.

- (and variations on the theme) might be acceptably close. Newcastle
being the first major centre of coal mining in England, and so the last
place to which it was worthwhile to take coal. And so possibly a similar
expression of worthless/pointless activity. Though it is possible that
it is not an appropriate expression when translating French into North
American or Australian English.

Richard.
Sep 22 '05 #14

P: n/a
Christopher Benson-Manica wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote: <snip>
... . Many browsers also provide a configurable setting
that prevents window re-sizing (either enabled or disabled
by default, depending on the browser). ...

<snip> I had forgotten about those user-configurable settings.


That doesn't seem like a good idea in our context as even the simplest
scriptable browser has many user configurable permutations that will
directly impact upon the operation of scripts.

Richard.
Sep 22 '05 #15

P: n/a
rf
Richard Cornford wrote:

[french go English translation of idioms]
Don't carry coals to Newcastle.

- (and variations on the theme) might be acceptably close. Newcastle
being the first major centre of coal mining in England, and so the last
place to which it was worthwhile to take coal. And so possibly a similar
expression of worthless/pointless activity. Though it is possible that
it is not an appropriate expression when translating French into North
American or Australian English.


Oddly there *is* a Newcastle in Australia (160K north of Sydney) and it
is/was one of the two major coal cities in New South Wales.

"Don't carry coals to Newcastle" is in common usage in Australia, although
we also speak about the futility of flogging a dead horse :-)

Cheers
Richard.
Sep 22 '05 #16

P: n/a
ASM
Richard Cornford wrote:
ASM wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote:
I don't want to discourage you from attempting to write
in English, but here you have failed.
My english is so ugly ?
or
did I understand nothing (anything?) ?

I cannot say how much you understood.


with some difficulties ...
I can say that your post did not
convey much meaning.
Not more than :
it is not worst to have a new window than a new layer
or :
it is worst to have a new layer than a new special window
(popup you can easily close)

and in addition : I do not understand this opposition to popups
(if launched by visitor's action, of course)
My impression is that it suffered from being too
much of a word-for-word translation from a French original containing
idioms that do not lend themselves to that sort of treatment.

For example, I observer the use of the words "the last photo of nose of
grand ma'", and you have previously used the phrase "last photo of my
mother in law". I suspect that these forms of words have more
significance in French, but it is in French culture that they find their
significance and the meaning is lost in a direct word-for-word
translation into English.
They are of my own expression
photo of grand ma'
means what it means : something of not great interest
(don't think World would find very exiting to see my family...)
perhaps
photo of the cat
would have been more explicit ?
I asked one of my French colleagues if he could shed any light on this,
but he could not. I think he was also slightly baffled by your post.
In any case I thank you very much for your answer so well detailed.

However
Don't carry coals to Newcastle.


I think that would mean : don't loose your time ?

"Ne batis pas de chateaux en Espagne"
would have to mean : don't project what it's imposible
my dictionnary says :
"Don't build castels in the air"
but ... perhaps it is quite old ? (1967)
Friendly
--
Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac
Sep 22 '05 #17

P: n/a
ASM
rf wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote:

[french go English translation of idioms]

Don't carry coals to Newcastle.
"Don't carry coals to Newcastle" is in common usage in Australia, although
we also speak about the futility of flogging a dead horse :-)

Cheers
Richard.


in french it is :
"to cary water to the river"

some oher expression ?

"to have other fish to fry"
french
"to have other dogs to whip"
--
Stephane Moriaux et son [moins] vieux Mac
Sep 22 '05 #18

P: n/a
ASM wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote:
ASM wrote:
Richard Cornford wrote:
I don't want to discourage you from attempting to write
in English, but here you have failed.

My english is so ugly ?
or
did I understand nothing (anything?) ?
I cannot say how much you understood.


with some difficulties ...
I can say that your post did not
convey much meaning.


Not more than :
it is not worst to have a new window than a new layer
or :
it is worst to have a new layer than a new special
window (popup you can easily close)


In terms of a graphical user interface there is not much difference
between new windows/alert/conform/prompt and the effects that can be
produced in various sorts of scripted positioned HTML containers. ("new
layer" is a potentially misleading term to use). The latter may achieve
entirely analogous user interface behaviour.

However, scripted HTML has obvious advantages over alter, confirm and
prompt, it that it offers considerably more control over the
presentation of the results. And it has the advantage over new windows
of offering better control over presentation and aspects of behaviour
such as modality and significant positioning.

Significant abuse of the ability to open new windows in some
environments has resulted in pop-up blocking. Either as a built in
facility of web browsers or through the use of add-on and external
software. The last few years have seen such a growth in the use of
pop-up blockers that in a public Internet context it probably makes more
sense to assume that a pop-up blocker of some sort will be acting than
to assume that opening new windows is a viable activity.

It has been the lesson of the history of browser scripting that whenever
a facility is abused in a way that acts against the preference of the
user then that facility is removed, in one way or another. The future
may see abuses of scripted positioned HTML elements acting in the place
of new windows, and those possible abuses may see the removal of that
facility. But we are not there yet and as a result the act of attempting
to open a new window is likely to come under the influence of pop-up
blockers, while the scripted HTML element is not. The result is that
scripted HTML elements used as window-style GUI components are more
reliable that attempting to use new windows for the same task.

The concept of 'requested' pop-ups are often cited as a justification
for continuing to use pop-up windows. Unfortunately the concept of a
requested pop-up varies considerably between the various types of pop-up
blocker, with vary little apparent appreciation of the possibilities
available. This takes the reality that pop-up blockers render the
attempt to open new windows unreliable and by only attempting to open
'requested' pop-ups the unreliability is only diminished.

It is a general principle of browser scripting that when a script is not
capable of acting successfully it should fail under its own control.
That is, all possible outcomes should be manifest in the design of the
code used. When trying to use scripted HTML as window-like GUI
components it is possible to test the environment for its potential to
act in the required way, its performance and behaviour while acting, and
the outcome of attempts to act. So when such a script fails it can be
aware of that failure and do so under its own control. Pop-up blockers
do not allow the same possibility when attempting to open new windows.

The possible results of an attempt to open a new window that is blocked
may be null, or it may be a custom object impersonating a widow object,
or it may be a reference to an existing (usually the current) window, or
it may be a completely viable new window object reference, but a
reference to a new window that will shortly be asynchronously closed by
external software.

You hardly ever see examples of scripts that even attempt to verify the
outcome of window opening attempts, let alone come close to determining
the outcome of the attempt with any certainty. This is particularly true
when it comes to examining the influence of external software that may
close pop-up windows asynchronously.
and in addition : I do not understand this opposition
to popups
Why expend effort scripting a system that will be unreliable, and
unknowably unreliable at that, when you can use an alternative that is
reliable, in the sense that it will work in more environments and allows
the precise determination of when and where it will fail.
(if launched by visitor's action, of course)
Saying a "visitor's action" suggests that you are thinking of the
'requested' pop-ups allowed by a couple of the more recent pop-up
blocking mechanisms. Consider the style of pop-up blocking where new
windows are allowed, but only when the user is holding down a specific
key (often Ctrl). If you design so that users must take positive
additional action to get the pop-ups you can hardly consider the outcome
a good GUI, especially when it is almost certainly possible to achieve
the same effect as a pop-up window by scripting HTML within the one
window.

<snip>
For example, I observer the use of the words "the last
photo of nose of grand ma'", and you have previously
used the phrase "last photo of my mother in law". ... <snip>
They are of my own expression
photo of grand ma'
means what it means : something of not great interest
"Photo of grand ma" does mean what it means, but what it means is an
object, a photograph, with a subject, Grand Ma'. (At least to the extent
that a photograph may be regarded as an object when most are digital
these days.) Meaning beyond that may come from the (lexical or cultural)
context of the use of the term.

<snip> perhaps
photo of the cat
would have been more explicit ?
That seems almost exactly as non-explicit. The solution might be to
avoid trying to imply meaning, but instead to state: "some arbitrary web
content".
I asked one of my French colleagues if he could shed
any light on this, but he could not. I think he was
also slightly baffled by your post.


In any case I thank you very much for your answer so
well detailed.

However
> Don't carry coals to Newcastle.


I think that would mean : don't loose your time ?


Or "don't waste your time".
"Ne batis pas de chateaux en Espagne"
would have to mean : don't project what it's imposible
my dictionnary says :
"Don't build castels in the air"
but ... perhaps it is quite old ? (1967)


When my French colleague was explaining the use of "Ne batis pas de
chateaux en Espagne" his examples included the contemplation of the
impossible but also included the futile misdirection of activity. The
latter concept is better paralleled in English with carrying coals to
Newcastle, the former with building castles in the air.

My impression was that the potential for wider meaning of the French
expression resulted form the fact that you can build castles in Spain
(regardless of how pointless it may be to do so). In the same way as you
can take coal to Newcastle.

On the other hand, building castles in the air is always impossible, and
so that phrase is used to express futile mental activity. To the extent
that "building castles in the air" is used (poetically) to represent
daydreaming.

I chose to concentrate on the futile activity aspect of the phrase,
rather than the futile thought aspect, as a better illustration of how
the same concept might be represented by very different sequences of
words in different languages, and so better illustrate the limitations
of word-for-word translation.

Richard.

Sep 25 '05 #19

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