Friday, October 18, 2013

Are browser changes affecting your site?

Unfortunately when we build web software we can't always foresee the future. Web browsers such as Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer are periodically changed and updated by their manufacturers causing some sites built to work with older standards to have problems. This is simply a part of the ongoing evolution of the internet. Recently we were alerted to an issue that had arisen as a result of some of these changes.

The problem showed up when some of our clients were attempting to upload images. An error would appear in a pop up box as they went to the image upload page. It was a strange sort of an error as it was intermittent. Some quick research online revealed that was a known issue that had cropped up recently and was present across multiple browsers. It appeared to affecting anyone using our latest image upload component across both Firefox and Chrome (although it's very possible that other browsers are suffering from the same issue).

We have been aware in a general way of this issue since September 2013 although it's only recently that specific issues have come to our attention. While there hasn't yet been a fix released by the browser manufacturers we have managed to macgyver a workaround. Basically we defined a width for the uploader component that previously didn't need defining.

Its a bit crazy and quite possibly to a lot of people it doesn't mean any more than if we said that we summoned the elves of the internet to dance three times clockwise around a mushroom. But the internet is a weird and wonderful place. It's a land of constantly changing rules that are defined not by one overarching authority but by the interactions of thousands of interlocking contributors. Little tweaks upstream by various providers will have an effect on those of us working further down. We can do our best to keep up with every new wave but sometimes it is simply a case of making changes on the go as each new tweak catches up with us.

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