Rip's Domain

Using jQuery to over come the shortsomings of XHTML

Posted in Jquery by rip747 on February 9, 2007

Who would have ever have know that you couldn’t do a target=”blank” on an anchor tag with XHTML Strict? I didn’t and this caught me by surprise. I haven’t a clue why the w3c even thought to do this. I think that the target attribute is probably the most useful attribute in the HTML language.

Anywho, this really isn’t a problem since I use jQuery! By using the power of jQuery you can overcome this problem. What I did was follow the advice of this post and use the “rel” attribute with a value of “external”. Then using jQuery I’m able to search the DOM for an anchor tags that are marked and open a new window. The code is below:

<a href=”; rel=”external”/>

// fix for target=”_blank”
return false;

What this does is look for an anchor tag (A) that has a value of “external” in it’s “rel” attribute. If it finds it, it grab the value of the links “href” attribute and opens a new window to the address. Now grant it, you could do this with plain vanilla JavaScript, but jQuery makes it so much more readable.


11 Responses

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  1. Michael Sharman said, on February 10, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Tony,

    Nice, jquery is so powerful!

    I guess w3c doesn’t think developers should be dictating to the user how a window is opened (i.e. a new window).

    One thing with your solution, is this not considered a popup window and therefore will have issues with all the popup blockers out there?


  2. rip747 said, on February 10, 2007 at 11:45 pm


    That is the only problem I see with this, however there isn’t any other solution that I know of. If someone has a better idea out there, I would like for them to share it.

  3. Ben Nadel said, on February 11, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Nice tip. I just starting using jQuery. Thanks for fueling the fire πŸ™‚

  4. rip747 said, on February 11, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Just wait about 20 minutes for my next post then πŸ˜‰

  5. Fazal said, on February 12, 2007 at 10:22 am

    To make it even more compact – I would deploy like so:

    $(document).ready(function() {
    $(“a[@rel=’external’]”).click(function() {
    return !$(this).attr(“href”));

    still returns true or false πŸ™‚

  6. rip747 said, on February 13, 2007 at 10:42 am


    Actually you want it to always return false and never true, so that clicking on the link itself doesn’t open the link in the current window, but a new one.

  7. Fazal said, on February 14, 2007 at 9:57 am


    my bad – i meant to say it still returns false – if you observe my code – just before it says – I have inserted an exclamation mark “!” which returns false.

  8. rip747 said, on February 15, 2007 at 10:03 am


  9. James Carlos said, on September 19, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    just ran into this from google and wanted to say thanks for the tip!

  10. Alex Grande said, on March 12, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Not sure why I had problems with your guys scripts when I copied and pasted them into my js file. Firebug reported an illegal character. I rewrote it and changed it a bit and now it works for me.

    $(“a[rel=’external’]”).click(function() {
    return false;

    This is very similar to how I had it before but I was using a special class that I included like this:

    $(“.specialLink”).click(function() {
    return false;
    But your solution with using the advanced selector is much cooler!!


  11. Molurus said, on April 25, 2008 at 4:01 am

    and why not just take the target=_blank itself out of the markup and into jQuery?
    It validates all the same, no popup-blocker problems, and as long as browsers still support it…

    $(‘a[rel=”external”]’).click(function () {

    same can be done for things like history.back, etc

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