Why not FeedBurner? FeedBurner assumes a new window. The confirmation screen includes a “Close Window” link and it doesn’t smoothly transition you back to your own site. Why let folks take people off of their site without a way to get back? Other services, like MailChimp, allow you to define your own page as the confirmation, which is what I did. In this case, visitors don’t have to worry about the MailChimp name or what they’re doing on this site.
By default, it will use a new window, which is the previous behavior and what mimics the original widget.
Additionally, there ia a, um, hidden feature. The source code adds optional first and last name fields for those who wish to track names of their subscribers as well. If you un-comment five or so lines (two separate places), you can take advantage of this now. I don’t anticipate another release before enabling these new fields, but for full disclosure, an upgrade will remove any custom coding fun you have.
Why is it commented out? In short, this is a big change for the widget. Up to now, we’re assuming the styling conventions used by StudioPress. If you’re using one of StudioPress’ themes, you can use with widget without having to know/edit any CSS. Adding new fields would change that for users wishing to use them. For example, my site now has a small envelope icon in the e-mail field. You likely wouldn’t want your name field to include that icon–that requires some custom CSS somewhere along the way.
My original idea was to enable the fields and simply tell people to edit style.css to make it work. As I’ve fielded support for the plugin, though, I realize that many folks (at least, those who are seeking support) are generally using stock themes and may or may not have a strong sense of CSS styling. Honestly, I’m debating a) just having the fields in there and require style.css changes, b) having a settings screen to add custom CSS that would be applied to the subscribe area or c) some other solution.
In the mean time though, if you’re skilled enough to enable it, it’s there.
Have fun and enjoy!