My friend Dagger pointed me to and the confusion there. They were redirecting users who had Java disabled to a page all about enabling Java, even though what they really meant was Javascript. They didn't seem to realise the difference.

The same page explained that their site wouldn't work in a whole bunch of browsers, seemingly resigning to defeat and not appreciating that IE is mostly wrong when it's the only browser to 'correctly' render a webpage. All this from a site on Javascript snippets. Disturbing.
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Once I'd taken a look I couldn't help but slag them off by email. They only have a web-based help ticket system by way of contact options, but that didn't stop me.

And I wasn't very nice.

You are confused people.

With Java disabled in a browser, you redirect users to a page explaining that they need to enable Java blah blah and telling them how.

Except you have made one huge massive crucial mistake.

Java is not Javascript.

All your tests and your information is talking about Java, as in the embedded applet variety.

What you MEAN to be talking about is JavaScript, which is a scripting language of the ECMA variety commonly used to do stupid pointless things like suppress right-clicks and validate forms.

I find it somewhat disturbing that such a grave error could be made on a site dishing out JS knowledge by the bucketload.

I can't find any reasonable use of Java anywhere on your site, yet users with Java disabled on their browsers are being told to enable it and that they can't use the site until they do. Consequently they open themselves up to potential security risks whilst not actually being able to do anything that they could otherwise do.


"Due to numerous complaints of Netscape & Firefox browser users not being able to navigate our Web site, we have installed browser detection & redirect safe guards. Unfortunately, some users using Netscape and/or Firefox will not be able to access this Web site. (More Info Below)"

That's most certainly not the correct approach. Any site that renders improperly in standards-compliants browsers such as these is NOT accessible (and therefore illegal in many countries, notably the UK) and badly coded. The reason it works in IE is because it allows certain scripting shortcuts to be taken.

You should invest the time and resources to making your website with correct code and syntax. In most cases this will just be a matter of referencing objects in the DOM properly. Read a Javascript manual if you need help with this.

Again, disturbing for a site dishing out JS by the bucketload.


"2) You are using America Online/Netscape/Firefox/Web TV/Opera web browser, or some other software application that is not allowing JAVA to initiate as required on this service."

Both Java and Javascript work fine in AOL, Netscape, Firefox and Opera (can't speak for Web TV, who even uses that now?). There is no reason to assume that users of these four browsers cannot use Java and Javascript.

"Some Firefox or Netscape browser users complain that they cannot access this server even with their JavaScript turned on, while other users of Firefox tell us they can access this site just fine. "

"We are unsure as to what the culprit may be … it appears to be possibly inherent to specific computer models like Gateway and Compaq that have had the Firefox browser added by the user. It's possibly a shared technological component that is just incapable of handling our detection and prompt JavaScript codes."

Rubbish. Spend some time with multiple browsers and see how they render. Computer models have no impact on web page rendering. Whether the browser was installed by the end-user has no impact on web page rendering. It's more likely some routing error or css not loading properly. This should be investigated, not sat upon.

Please get a clue!

The solution

I didn't expect to hear any more. Indeed, neither did Dagger.

(@Dagger) watch as it gets ignored :p
(@Dagger) or "we've got our eyes shut so the problem doesn't exist"
(@tomalak) ;p a bit like my dog
(@tomalak) if she can't see you, you can't see her
(@tomalak) apparently

So when my next line was "ooh I got a reply" I think he was a little surprised. I was more than a little surprised, especially when I read it.

Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to write us your detailed dissatisfaction message … it is greatly appreciated … whether pro or con in view … your comment helps us to evolve into a better service for webmasters.

Your message raises some great points and does show me that we have an outdated page that should be restructured.

However, at the time of this page creation we were using all "Java Applet Navigation Systems" within our pages provided by …. and that posting was appropriate at that time. (Thank you for bringing this outdated page to my attention)

I have already had Craig update that page.

Once again, thanks for bringing this really outdated page to our attention.

Well, wow!

I went to the redirection page, and indeed, it had been updated into a perfectly reasonable page explaining how to set up Javascript. No lectures about using weird browsers, or "we don't know how to make our site look proper, sorry." version 2
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The thanks

Shocked and astounded that not only had they replied immediately but fixed the page, I sent off another email:

No problem. 🙂 Glad I could help. Nice to see feedback being taken into consideration so very impressively too… it's fairly rare these days. I admit I didn't expect it.

And got one back:

We learn from the best … people like you. 🙂

If only more website owners were like this.