Setting New Window Properties

Stephen Yagielowicz

I received several emails last week in response to my Cluster of Consoles tutorial. Most echoed a similar theme, reflecting a desire to know more about how to specify a new window's (console) properties, a process which I will explore in detail below:

Using JavaScript to open a new window allows you to specify the new window's "properties." These properties not only include the size, shape, and position of the window, but whether or not the window displays toolbars, scrollbars, or a status bar; as well as several other features.

Many newbies frustrate themselves trying to alter their current window's properties by calling a "_top", "_parent", or "_self" tag with the "opener" code, but the unfortunate fact remains that a new window is required if you want it to assume specified properties.

If you want, you can learn much more about window properties from this tutorial, but for our purposes, window properties may be easily defined. For an example of relevant syntax, study the following event code:
('', '_blank',

While the above statements appear on individual lines for clarity, for the script to be properly executed, these statements must appear as one continuous line of code.

All of the defined parameters are quite self-explanatory: First, is the command to open a new window. The location (URL) of the new document is given, followed by the "name" of the window you wish to load this document into. This will usually be '_blank' to reference a new browser window. (Back Button Redirects are one exception, specifying '_self' in order to load the document into the current window. When doing this, you cannot specify other attributes; as your window retains its original configuration.)

Next follows the actual window properties. Specify either "yes" or "no" to make your selections. Setting everything to "no" makes for a typical "console window," but you may for instance wish to activate the status bar in order to show hyperlink OnMouseOver info.

Two additional parameters are height=XXX and width=XXX, with "XXX" being replaced by the desired value in pixels. These are useful if you know the actual dimensions of your document. This is not always as easy as it seems (unless you are using a set graphic size for a console), and can result in only a partial view of a document in a window without scrollbars!

The easiest way for you to evaluate how changing these basic options will affect the functionality and appearance of your console is through experimentation. Construct a simple web page to launch your consoles, and then see how modifying the various script parameters will change things. Test your code across as many browsers as possible, and find something that works for you. Don't be afraid to experiment with your scripts: you never know what you'll discover!