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missing menus

Discussion of bugs in Seamonkey
Gavin
 
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Post Posted November 6th, 2002, 5:37 pm

Many sites seem to have missing menus. I am not sure if they are javascript or what, but they either don't work right, or don't show up at all.

One example is this one:

http://www.policecu.com.au/pcusite/index.htm

If you view it with IE (and I believe Netscape 4.xx) you get a menu under the top blue section. With Mozilla 1.0,1.1,1.2 and NS7 there is no menu. Again, I must stress this is not uncommon and typical of the problem.

I have tried emailing webmasters of such sites, but the general response is "it works fine for us".

So what is going wrong?

laszlo

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Post Posted November 6th, 2002, 6:03 pm

The site you linked to uses old DHTML-JS generated by Macromedia Dreamweaver. This code only supports Netscape 4.x and IE 4+ because it uses proprietary extensions (Netscape's Layers and Microsoft's all-Object). To work in Gecko based browsers it would have to be rewritten to use the DOM (which would work in IE 5+ also).

In general: if a site's menus don't work, the culprit is almost always either proprietary JavaScript or erroneous browser detection.

Gavin
 
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Post Posted November 6th, 2002, 6:53 pm

So IE beats Mozilla yet again (it supports everything)
:(

These sites are *not* going to get rewritten, they work fine with IE, and the webmasters get virtually no complaints :/

The question is what can mozilla users do about it? Is there any reason why mozilla couldn't support the older (and yes proprietry) script?

laszlo

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Post Posted November 6th, 2002, 9:46 pm

Gavin wrote:So IE beats Mozilla yet again (it supports everything)

Everything? It doesn't support Netscape 4's Layers... :wink:

Gavin wrote:These sites are *not* going to get rewritten, they work fine with IE, and the webmasters get virtually no complaints

Rewriting the JS would have the advantage of being compatible with every future browser.

Gavin wrote:The question is what can mozilla users do about it? Is there any reason why mozilla couldn't support the older (and yes proprietry) script?

Implementing MS-only technology doesn't make much sense when there's a much more powerful alternative like the DOM that is not only supporting HTML (like document.all), but also every XML-based language (even the ones not yet invented).

You could file a Tech Evangelism bug describing your problem. Ideally the Mozilla people would contact the site admins and help them with possible solutions for this.

Gavin
 
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Post Posted November 6th, 2002, 10:47 pm

There are stacks of sites like this. Some you don't even realize until you go back to IE and load them. Hell my own company's intranet apps don't work with Moz, and I can promise you they will not be fixing those to work with mozilla as IE is our 'default and supported browser'. Expecting them to 'fix' it when they won't even admit there is a problem is pointless.

Isn't it a lot easier to have a single browser app that has the capability to display older web pages, rather than trying to get a huge number of websites updated?

I hate IE, I love Mozilla, and I *try* to get websites to support moz. But it's like banging your head against a brick wall. I try to get people to use Mozilla, cos it is better, but they get frustrated with it refusing to display websites 'correctly' when IE works fine so they go back to IE.

The average web user will not tolerate incompatibility, regardless of who's fault it is. Keep allowing MS to be seen as the most web compatible browser, and they will simply own the net - if they don't already. :(

You can probably tell this frustrates me a lot, as Mozilla is clearly a better browser. But it is as plain as can be why IE dominates, and also why people won't change from it.

If you think I am being too negative, here's a smell the roses link to make you rethink whether Mozilla's attitude of "we will only support certain standards regardless of how the web is currently served" is a sound one - this also applies to the sheer pig-headedness of always assuming the server is sending the correct mime type regardless of file extention just because "that's the standard":

"Internet Explorer, meanwhile, continues to climb, and now has a global usage share of 96 percent, up from about 87 percent a year ago, StatMarket reported. "

I so want Mozilla to succeed, but I have no idea how to get thru to the people who make the decisions that they must remove their blinders.

Gunnar

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Post Posted November 7th, 2002, 7:46 am

Gavin wrote:So IE beats Mozilla yet again (it supports everything)
:(

One advantage IE has (and I'm only being partially cynical) is that it supports even the crappiest HTML.
Other than that, I wouldn't be so sure about "IE supporting everything". Mozilla is alot better at CSS support. There are many nice things you can do with CSS that work just fine with Mozilla but not alt all with IE. Sadly, that is the reason why we see less eyecandy (using CSS instead of Java, Javascript).

Gavin wrote:These sites are *not* going to get rewritten,

I think it's safe to say that pretty much all major sites will get rewritten at some point. This will in most cases be independent of the fact that that some features don't work with Mozilla, but rather to improve sites or change their design (like e.g. stores in the mall do from time to time). When they are being rewritten, it will most likely be with newer & better tools, i.e. by then they will support Mozilla.

Gavin wrote: and the webmasters get virtually no complaints :/


There is one solution: Complain. I do (in a friendly manner, insulting webmasters wil get us nowhere) and it has shown positive results. Helping to point out the exact error is actually appreciated by them. Many errors slip by, because webmasters don't use Mozilla (which is the second thing to do - get webmasters, -designers & -programmers to use Mozilla) or don't have the time to figure out which part of the code is the "culprit". In many cases, the fix only involves changing a few lines of code, which, if told what causes the error, is often done very quickly. After all, their site works even better and it cost them little if any extra work at all.

Gavin wrote:The question is what can mozilla users do about it? Is there any reason why mozilla couldn't support the older (and yes proprietry) script?


We have had this discussion on the forums countless times. There are many reasons for and against.
IMHO, the only way to actually stamp out substandard /erroneous coding is to not support it / or only where necessary. Also, it is a uestion of Code-bloat. The more "non-standard" features and exception Mozilla supports, the more bloated it will get.

Gunnar
http://mozilla.gunnars.net - The Mozilla Help Site

Zontar

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Post Posted November 7th, 2002, 7:48 am

Gavin wrote:Isn't it a lot easier to have a single browser app that has the capability to display older web pages, rather than trying to get a huge number of websites updated?

No. Thius will merely perpepuate the problem.

This situation won't last forever. The better Web dev/scripting sites and books (including the last 2 or 3 I've written) are celebrating the fact that convergence in scripting support is at its best level ever and encouraging their readers to use the DOM and not to worry about supporting the 4th-gen browsers anymore unless they're specifically requested to, and when questions about these come up on the forums, those asking are getting referred to the sites' archives or previous editions. Even Microsoft is encouraging clientside scripters to drop the old IE4-specific <code>document.all</code> junk and hinting that they're not going to support it forever. And <b>nobody</b> in his right mind is doing any new development in support of NS4's <code>document.layers</code> crap.

old jasonb
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Post Posted November 7th, 2002, 7:55 am

Gavin wrote:Isn't it a lot easier to have a single browser app that has the capability to display older web pages, rather than trying to get a huge number of websites updated?


You are free to use whatever browser that best suits your needs. At your company, for instance, if your server code is not going to change you should probably use IE.

There are some things that Mozilla does a lot better than IE - and when viewing sites using that code, Mozilla should be used.

Personally, I don't want to see Mozilla compromised just because it doesn't work properly with some (perhaps a lot of) incorrectly coded sites. It shouldn't work correctly with those sites - to do so would just be sloppy. It's the sites that are wrong, not the browser. I don't want to see it do "everything", when everything encompasses incorrect practices.

Just because I personally like Mozilla better than any other browser doesn't mean that I want it to have 100% market share and "do everything" in order to get there. I'd rather it be the best browser I know of even if that means it only has 1% market share. (Although, everything being equal, I'd like the best of both worlds.) Doing things properly, as they should be done, is my first priority for Mozilla. Simple market share ends up at the bottom of my priority list.

Also, we're not going to just snap our fingers and have all of the webmasters change their code on the spot. It's a long, slow process. But things are slowly getting done.

Gavin
 
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Joined: November 6th, 2002, 5:28 pm

Post Posted November 7th, 2002, 4:22 pm

IE market share heads for 99.99% :/

It might be right, but it don't work. But I'm glad you're morally correct.

Assuming I wish to keep banging my head against a brick wall, what is this "Tech Evangelism bug" report that laszlo said you can file?

WillyWonka

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Post Posted November 7th, 2002, 5:18 pm

A tech evangelism bug is a standard bug report, but someone will email the web master with information on how to fix their site.

For example, here is one which was filed against the store at www.nintendo.com
http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=117251

Here is the Bug report helper if you are so inclined to file a Tech Evang bug:
http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/enter_bug.cgi?format=guided

laszlo

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Post Posted November 7th, 2002, 5:18 pm

Gavin wrote:IE market share heads for 99.99%.

That's about where Netscape was once, just before Mr. Gates discovered that the Internet and especially the WWW could be a bigger source of money than he had thought...

In a year or two you won't be able to recognize the web, which is not static, but highly dynamic. Every future site update will naturally make the pages compatible with Gecko for the reasons Zontar mentioned. All the big players on the Web already did it. Just let all the developers discover the beauty, easyness and power of CSS2 for example: the menus we're talking about here can be made with pure CSS, without fiddling with JavaScript at all.

Look at this Credit Union site: if they continue to use Dreamweaver for the layout of their pages, they will update the program sooner or later. Current (and even more future) versions of Dreamweaver will produce code that is compatible with Gecko, so it will only be a matter of time.

Too late, you say? Well, I don't think the situation would be significantly different if Gecko would start to support document.all (and many of the bugs in IE developers have to work around which are another source of errors in Mozilla) or if it had supported it from the beginning.

Gavin wrote:Assuming I wish to keep banging my head against a brick wall, what is this "Tech Evangelism bug" report that laszlo said you can file?

Just register with [url=bugzilla.mozilla.org]Bugzilla[/url] and file a bug with "Tech Evangelism" as product, describing your problem with this site.

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