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TechAngel85

Using Links on the Wiki

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No I don't remember, sorry. Far too much to keep up with. Opening a new tab is default behavior for the browsers I've used so I didn't notice any issue.

 

If we're wanting the internal links to behave as external links, it would be better to have S4N change the behavior in the wiki rather then skirting the system. I'll put in a feature request to him to see if this is possible before reverting those.

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No I don't remember, sorry. Far too much to keep up with. Opening a new tab is default behavior for the browsers I've used so I didn't notice any issue.

 

If we're wanting the internal links to behave as external links, it would be better to have S4N change the behavior in the wiki rather then skirting the system. I'll put in a feature request to him to see if this is possible before reverting those.

Not true. Default behavior is to open a link in the same window. Links that open in a new window are using the target="_blank" attribute on the <a> element.

 

The Wiki is configured to open external links in a new window using the above method. There is no configuration for internal links, and even if there were, it would not be changed.

 

If a user wants to ensure a link opens in a new window, they can right click and select to open in a new window/tab. If a page really does need to force internal links to open in a new window, you must build them such that they are treated as external, but this should not be the norm.

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Not true. Default behavior is to open a link in the same window. Links that open in a new window are using the target="_blank" attribute on the element.

 

The Wiki is configured to open external links in a new window using the above method. There is no configuration for internal links, and even if there were, it would not be changed.

 

If a user wants to ensure a link opens in a new window, they can right click and select to open in a new window/tab. If a page really does need to force internal links to open in a new window, you must build them such that they are treated as external, but this should not be the norm.

"Should not be the norm". That's what my feelings were on this. When I seen the external format being used for internal links, it didn't seem like the proper way so I converted all I found to the [[mod page]] format. If I'm out voted on this for the mod pages, I'll revert them back.

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"Should not be the norm". That's what my feelings were on this. When I seen the external format being used for internal links, it didn't seem like the proper way so I converted all I found to the [[mod page]] format. If I'm out voted on this for the mod pages, I'll revert them back.

In the guide in particular (all guides, actually) and all pages relating to a person that is following our guide(s), all links should be external link format rather than internal link format [[page|text]]. The reason is that it is much simpler to follow the guide from a window that never changes so that one can avoid using the back button and potentially getting lost and frustrated while following the guide. (I know from several trial runs following the guide myself as any new user would) ... when one will continuously be referencing a given page, it is not useful to navigate away from that page in order to follow-up on ancillary info, only to have need to go back to the original page. This is disruptive behavior.

 

Standards aside, we need to continue making it simple to follow the guide(s) and keep once's place in the guide while referencing ancillary info. It is FAR easier on users this way.

 

That said, external links are not always best on mod pages ... only when there is a common scenario of needing to keep reference info up whilst investigating linked info that may or may not be applicable to what the guide follower may be reading at the moment.

 

Scenario:

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In the guide in particular (all guides, actually) and all pages relating to a person that is following our guide(s), all links should be external link format rather than internal link format [[page|text]]. The reason is that it is much simpler to follow the guide from a window that never changes so that one can avoid using the back button and potentially getting lost and frustrated while following the guide. (I know from several trial runs following the guide myself as any new user would) ... when one will continuously be referencing a given page, it is not useful to navigate away from that page in order to follow-up on ancillary info, only to have need to go back to the original page. This is disruptive behavior.

 

Standards aside, we need to continue making it simple to follow the guide(s) and keep once's place in the guide while referencing ancillary info. It is FAR easier on users this way.

 

That said, external links are not always best on mod pages ... only when there is a common scenario of needing to keep reference info up whilst investigating linked info that may or may not be applicable to what the guide follower may be reading at the moment.

 

Scenario:

 

Well, if all links should be open in a new tab we need to discuss this. I've never done external links on any of the wiki work I've done unless it led to an external website. I'm with s4n that users should know how and when to open in a new tab themselves. A simple "wheel-click" on all mice with a wheel will open a new tab by default and in one tiny click of a button. Opening a new tab via the right-click menu works as well. S4n is not going to change the default behavior so the only issue I have with this is maintenance. It takes a lot longer to for us to create these types of links for users rather than the user following best practices, and when time is short for all of us. I'm all for making things easier for the user, but I'm not about hand-holding and doing this seems to go out of our way for something users can easily do themselves when needed.

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'best' practice is to use either external links or intra-wiki links. Use external links where it makes sense on guides and intra-wiki links everywhere else. maintenance is not an issue either way unless links change, which is not applicable to any links to our wiki, be they internal or external links, because we use redirects.

 

Do what you want on the wiki in general and your own guides if you want (where they are unrelated to the STEP guide), but use external link format on the STEP guide(s) please, because following that guide requires movement all over the wiki whilst the guide itself remains primarily relevant. That is how it is set up in the guide presently and in guide templates containing links to internal wiki. People should not be expected to right click on links, open a context menu and then click again to open tab and then click on the tab that opened up (4 clicks).

 

External links to internal wiki pages require a single left click, which opens & focuses on the new tab, leaving the original guide page and position intact. It's a no-brainer that requires zero added maintenance. This is the norm for the guide(s) and not the wiki (or other wikis) in general. Our guide is a special case, and it is the expected/preferred behavior.

 

EDIT: this is OT in this discussion and we should end and refocus on the OP.

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I split off the posts into their own topic.

 

I agree with the links on the Guide should be treated as such. But their use on all the mod pages makes sense about 50/50. Their use in the header make sense and that can be fixed and controlled in the template/form for those, but most of the links in the instruction area are just references when another mod is mentioned. I don't remember ever having to click on one when I recently reinstalled the whole Guide. Now, perhaps that's because I'm experienced and familiar with the Guide, but I still do not recall ever clicking on any of those links. If I did, I would have used my middle mouse click anyway so I wouldn't have known which format the link was using. All the links on the mod pages in the instruction area have currently been converted to the: [[page name]] format.

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I disagree with the argument on the Guides needing to force internal links to open in tabs by treating them as external links. You are relying on a mechanism that could go away, deviates from standard practices that the majority of the internet as a whole follows, and adds confusion in how links should be generated on the Wiki.

 

The extra click argument is also bogus. All major browsers support shift-click to open in a new window, or ctrl-click to open in a new tab. I use it all the time when searching on google and want to open several links without losing the search page. No extra clicks involved.

 

It should be up to the user to control beyond the standard practice, which is external links open in new window, and internal links open in same window. It's also easily rectified by putting a short blurb at the top of Guides explaining the shift-click/ctrl-click behavior. Also ensures consistency in proper link generation on the Wiki as a whole.

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I should also point out that in terms of best practice for MediaWiki, internal links are preferred because when databases are migrated (mirrored to other domains) internal links always work, where-as external links would incur a maintenance cost to update them all. For anyone running MediaWiki for their own site, should they move to a new domain, internal links will just work. There is a reason why there is separate internal versus external link handling.

 

Not a huge case for us in terms of fearing a domain change, however, for development purposes and thinking of wikidev, all of those external links will point back to the live site rather than the new instance.

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I'll agree to emphatically disagree then, s4n ;)

 

Your points all make sense, but we will not be migrating (and if we do, fixing links containing "step-project.com" is pretty simple), and most people don't use the context menu to open new tab (and would agree that it is more of a pain; See DY's previous post!) ... and even if one knows about this, it is a PITA (4 clicks) compared to simply using external links. Follow the guide as a new user, and you will quickly see what i mean.

 

It is much simpler to use for a much larger user base as it now stands (including me, and I understand how to force pages to open in new tabs, but I hate navigating around 4 clicks and context menu each time).

 

I get your point about wikidev site though, so that is something to consider in that environment.

 

The best solution would be to have an internal wiki link shortform that uses target="_blank" attribute, but that may not be possible ... ?

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OK, see that now; however, this shortcut is likely even less known to most users ;) Remember, most of our users are not going to be as browser savvy as you are, and they will not even think about opening in a new tab versus same window. I have made it easy for the ignorant (most users).

 

I will try to form the habit, but old habits die hard (like simply left clicking on a link).

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I stand by that you are enforcing behavior that is ideal in a specific situation, but causes more issues on the flip side than it solves when there is already a mechanism in browsers to do exactly what you want.

 

In other words, alter the unspoken standard on the web, rather than learning to ctrl click which does not incur any more effort from the user, while introducing higher potential for confusion on the wiki, which is why this thread exists in the first place.

 

Ultimately, it it's far better to solve issues with navigating versus forcing UI behavior that limits user choice.

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