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Blogger – Can I get in please?

By Ian Lloyd | April 3rd, 2006 | Filed in Accessibility, Web Standards (general)

How Blogger blocks users from getting past the front door when the browser is JavaScript-capable but is sitting behind script blocking firewalls – and how it’s not alone in making this mistake.

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I use a number of different systems to run a number of different blogs that I either own/run or that I contribute to. For a long time I’ve liked Blogger (even if it is deemed a bit uncool for some of us hack-savvy power users), and I still do. But something’s bugging me, and I figure if I sound off here something might be done to improve it.

Blogger – please can you let me in the front door?

Where I work, the company has a fairly aggressive (although entirely sensible) security policy that sometimes stops web pages in their tracks, and increasingly with anything that could be branded Web 2.0 or built with AJAX. What is it that’s breaking? I’ve done a bit of investigation and it seems to be any script that could be misconstrued as attempting a bit of cross-site scripting or calling some Java function. In the case of Blogger, the all-important submit button is not appearing because the script that writes it in to the page is not activated:

Blogger login - missing a submit button
Where is the submit button? In script-blocking limbo, that’s where.

Now, I’m not posting here to try to get Google/Blogger to make a change for just little old me sat behind my company’s security policies, I’m trying to point out that they’ve effectively shut me out and anyone else who finds themselves working with such restrictions (and there are probably quite a large number).

There is a way around the problem – it is possible to disable JavaScript, but bear in mind that this is often locked down by system administrators on browsers being used by large companies. If I were able to disable JavaScript, I would be given the noscript alternative submit that Blogger has provided and I could get in.

Wider Implications

There is a more serious point to this than just Blogger not letting me in the front door. I am continually running into brick walls with my standards-compliant, fully (well, almost fully) CSS and JS-capable browser because the people building the applications and web sites did not consider what might happen in this scenario – that is that while the browser might be up to the job, the script that does the crucial piece of work is getting blocked at the outset. Perhaps these people should familiarise themselves with what Jeremy Keith has termed Hijax – with a bit of checking in the JavaScript it should be possible to ascertain whether the browser is actually capable of doing what you ask of it). I am continually dropping in on web sites that use an external file to write content in to the page that, because it’s being actively blocked from doing its job, ends up with a page that just sits there looking stupid and acting unresponsive.

Please, authors of fancy-pants Web 2.0 sites (and Blogger), don’t make assumptions that your script is always going to run. It may not – and you need to be prepared for this. Please check what else is going on in your script files ensure there’s nothing in there that can derail the good stuff.

[Of course, you could simply say "Well, what are you doing posting to a blog from work? Earn a living, you skiving git!" And that's one way of dealing with things. Ho hum.]

Your Replies

#1 On April 3rd, 2006 8:48 am