Fotiman - 5:12 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)
The Jakob Nielson article referenced earlier in this thread was, indeed, from 1999. However, it was updated in 2007 [useit.com] and still included that item as one of the top 10 mistakes. Most of it remained the same, but with this addition:
Links that don't behave as expected undermine users' understanding of their own system. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content. Users hate unwarranted pop-up windows. When they want the destination to appear in a new page, they can use their browser's "open in new window" command -- assuming, of course, that the link is not a piece of code that interferes with the browser’s standard behavior.
In other words, if links are created that don't modify the browser's standard behavior (replace current content with the content of the link), then users have the option of opening the link in the standard way, or opening in a new window/tab. The reverse is not true. If you force a new window/tab, you've taken that control away from the user.
Because opening new windows has LONG been established as bad practice, I don't think anyone should be surprised when someone brings up the subject whenever a poster asks how to do it. Having several hundred posts in no way implies any knowledge about usability experience. And doing it because "a client wants it that way" is not a good reason. "The Client" who wants it that way is probably not a usability expert. They hire a developer for their expertise and knowledge, so it's up to the developer to point out that, "hey, this is considered bad practice and let me explain why...".