What I’ve Seen On Blogs Since I Started Blocking Javascript On My Browser

When I wrote my post about blocking newsletter popups, I was feeling pretty smug because I was finally getting back at all those sites that throw popups at you before you even get to see the content. In the month since, I’ve noticed some things that I thought I’d talk about as a follow up to that original post.

Happy Mitch

First, I’m still a very happy guy. Those of you who visit here know that is my ultimate pet peeve when it comes to visiting blogs. Turns out it blocks a lot of other nasty bits from other types of sites beyond just blogs; I’m not mad in the least!

Second, let me mention some folks whose blogs I know for sure don’t bombard you with popup requests; it’s a short list:

Donna’s blog

Steve’s blog

Ed’s blog

Dana’s blog

That’s it so far. It’s harder now to tell who’s doing what since I can’t see anymore who’s got it or not. Still, based on what I remember, this is a pretty small list, which I probably won’t be updating any time soon; I’ll get back to that in a bit.

Third, it seems that without knowing it, all of us have some kind of javascript on our sites. Mine turns out to be my share buttons, and it seems to affect most of the blogs or websites I go to in that fashion. It also affects those commenting systems I didn’t like to begin with, such as Disqus and Livefyre. They don’t even come up; I get a message saying I need to activate javascript in order to comment, and since I wouldn’t comment on those anyway, I’m good once again. Also, I’m blocking both Forbes & Inc before they can block me because of my adblocker; winning! lol

Fourth, one of the messages I often stated was that I tended to believe that people who threw a popup at you before you could even read the content didn’t care whether you read it or not. That seems to be proven by many sites I go to because, unlike the majority, they won’t let you read any of the content, period! As a matter of fact, some of those sites never even load, there’s so much javascript in it. Oh, if only those folks knew how much all of that is negatively impacting their mobile speed! lol

Fifth, it also affects the ability to leave comments on blogs with CommentLuv, which I actually like a lot; that’s problematic. In those instances where I really want to leave a comment I’ll temporarily allow access to the site so I can have my say… even though 95% of the time it turns out the site throws a popup at me… sigh…

Sixth… come January I might be able to enable javascript on my browser again because Google has announced that it’s going to be punishing sites that use annoying pop-up ads… awww… They’re especially going after those sites that have popups that won’t allow you to view the content unless you hit the X, and those sites where there’s no X to hit before you can read the content. Suddenly, the excuse people have been giving about how many subscribers they get because of those popups will find their traffic drying up because of those very same popups; I couldn’t be more pleased!

When all is said and done, I can honestly say that it’s not the popups themselves that has irked me as much as when those suckers come up. If I’m not allowed to read all of your content, let alone even begin to see it, then I’d rather block it and move on. As it is, I’m probably sharing more content from creators these days whose articles I get to read without knowing whether or not they have popups, so a lot of you should be thanking me for that. For the rest of you… well, it is what it is, and now you’re going to be forced into it or risk losing your traffic… which I understand well.

That’s one for my side; now if Twitter will only do something like that for those Auto DM’s! 🙂
 

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What Does Your Site Look Like On All Browsers?

Last week while I was over a friend’s house, I wanted to show him my local Syracuse blog. He uses Internet Explorer (seems there’s still a lot of those out here lol) so I pulled up the main page and all looked fine. Then I pulled up an individual post and… ugliness!


bad code

I forgot about it until I was reading a post on a blog called IBlog4Dollars titled 35 Serious Blog Design Mistakes That You Should Avoid At All Costs written by Dennis Marshall. I got to #10, where it talked about making sure your website is cross-browser compatible, and then I remembered the problem I was having with IE.

I pulled it up on my IE and I had the issue like my friend did. I then went to work, and for the next 4+ hours I went through all the CSS code and checked all the PHP files, looking for something. I ran it through the W3C CSS Validator, which found some errors but nothing causing the issue. Man, was I frustrated.

Luckily, I play chess with Mitch Allen, so I threw the question out to him via one of my chess moves. He came back with a diagnosis that it was some javascript in the code, probably the Google Analytics script.

As I’d been researching the issue, I had come across something where it had been predicted that javascript could cause issues, but it never occurred to me it could be that one.

I went to the theme and then had to search for where I’d put it. Most of the time Google Analytics script works best in either the header or footer, but I realized I’d put it somewhere else, and then I remembered why. For some reason I can’t save many of the files on this particular theme. I get sent to a 404 page after attempting to do so, which was irksome. I found the script in a PHP I’d never put it on anywhere else because it turned out to be one of only 2 files I could actually save.

Once I removed it the site came back to life for IE8, which was great, but I still had a problem; how to get that Google Analytics code in. After all, if I couldn’t track my traffic, I wouldn’t know how I was progressing or digressing right?


good code

Then I remembered that sometimes you can fix things through your FTP program. I use something called WS_FTP for that purpose, so I opened that up, went to the plugin file and clicked once on Header.PHP. Then I right-clicked and went to Edit, and I popped the code in and saved it.

Came back to both my Firefox browser and IE, ran my tests, and all is working perfectly still. Just to make sure I also tested it in Chrome and Opera; looks good so far. Whew!

You can pick up things from other blogs, that’s for sure; heck, even this one I suppose. I had obviously taken time to see what that blog looked like before, but only the main page; that was a mistake, one I need to remember not to do again. One little code; with IE, sometimes that’s all it takes to mess stuff up.
 

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Firefox 3.6; Now That’s What I’m Talking About!

On Friday I got my first alert that there was an upgrade to the Firefox browser. It also said it wasn’t compatible with one of the add-ons that I liked, and I thought about not upgrading to it. However, Saturday night it popped up again, and I decided okay, fine, I’ll go that route. After all, one add-on does not a perfect browser make, right?

Let me say this; you’ve got to upgrade to Firefox 3.6, and you have to do it now! Man, this sucker is fast; I mean, I haven’t found a page yet that I’d have to wait longer than a second to get to, and that’s just phenomenal. I’m not going to get into all the technical stuff, mainly because I don’t understand it all either, but the main thing they did to improve speed was to address the issue of javascript performance. I’ve written here in the dark past how javascript issues can slow down a blog. Seems they can also slow down some browsers, and they’ve overcome that issue.

They also did something where the scripts will all run asynchronously, or independently from each other, which is what slows things down often. You know how you visit some blogs and you’ll notice something hanging, which is preventing your page to fully load for awhile? That’s not supposed to happen with Firefox 3.6, and so far in my own little tests it seems to be working great.

They’ve also added something new, which will probably pretty much get rid of themes. Instead of themes, now you can add a “persona”, of which they have more than 30,000. This bad boy changes the look of your browser to whatever you want, and I have to tell you, I’ve changed mine to some pretty bright colors, and just looking at it is making me smile because it’s always been dark since I bought the new computer, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

Firefox 3.6 will also now tell you if your plugins are out of date, rather than waiting until you get to a site and suddenly realize you can’t access something. I like that as well, and of course you always have the option to tell it to leave you alone for awhile.

I have to say that I feel they did a great job with this new version. Everything is easier to see, and I’m not even missing the one add-on that’s not compatible anymore, the AnyColor add-on, because what they’ve done is made the print on your open tabs bigger and easier to see, and the transparency also makes it easier to read, so you know exactly what each tab is. And obviously you don’t need it with the persona’s option.

The only minor gripe I have thus far is that, for some reason, every once in awhile instead of opening up a new tab it opens up a brand new window. There was that same issue with Firefox 3.5 initially, something they called tab tearing, and they quickly came up with a bug fix for it. I’m hoping they’ll do the same with this browser.

If you’re not using Firefox, well, I’m not sure why, but trust me, you’ll love this new version of Firefox whether you use it now or not.

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Javascript Can Wreck Havoc With Blogs

Over the last bunch of days, sometimes my blog has been very slow to access. I wasn’t sure what it was, though, so I started doing some testing, and it seems that the lethargy has been tracked down to incompatibility of javascript created items that I’ve been adding to my blog.

Of course, we all have a lot of javascript things on our blogs if we’re monetizing them. Adsense is a javascript program. Widget Bucks is a javascript program. Chitika is a javascript program. I’ve had Adsense almost forever, and my blog never ran this slow. I’m not sure about either Widget Bucks or Chitika. I had two other minor things on my blog, both from Grader.com, and I took those off because each one was a javascript program.

Not that talking about javascript slowing down blogs is new. A blog post that probably didn’t get the attention it deserved comes from Alex Iskold’s Technology blog, where he wrote a post titled How Javascript Is Slowing Down The Web. In it, he talks about the problems that can occur when multiple “single” lines of javascript code come together from varying sources. He talks about how javascript performs things sequentially and not concurrently, and that anytime a piece of JavaScript is being loaded or evaluated, everything else has to wait.

Now, supposedly there’s things that can be done for different browsers, but none of those things are absolutes. That, plus it’s very technical stuff; most of us regular folks won’t understand it, let alone what to do with it. However, something I’m speculating is that when there’s two javascript programs next to each other, that’s when things have an opportunity to fail, even if the same company created both programs. When I first removed the Widget Bucks affiliate banner that was sitting next to their skyboard banner, this blog was running much faster. Since then, though, it seems to go up and down. Frankly, I’m not really sure what to do next, other than removing all javascript programs, and that’s not about to happen. It’s possible that it’s related to either the LinkXL or Kontera ads that have recently started running on this blog also; I’m just not really sure.

Luckily, the slowdown time is infrequent, so I hope it doesn’t overly disturb anyone. However, if it starts bothering me often enough, I’m going to start moving things around some more, trying to make sure there’s some kind of distance between all the javascript that’s going on. At least the Daily Puppy widget isn’t javascript; aren’t they cute? Anyway, Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome talks about how javascript works in web browsers, so I’m sharing that here; enjoy!

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