Done, but with errors on page!

Browser incompatibility with served web pages and web content has been an issue for some time since multiple browsers and platforms have become available. HTML itself was designed to allow for multiple possible renderings to allow for differences of display device, etc. But as web pages have used proprietary content (e.g. Flash) and used progressively more complex scripting (e.g. JavaScript), style sheet variants (e.g. CSS) and other platform dependant content, and as specialized versions of web pages for mobile devices have appeared, the things have recently become much worse.

We often get pages partially rendered, but see the message “Done, but with errors on page” showing in the browser status bar. This is often due to JavaScript or other underling errors… an example, taken from the Holyrood Park Blog site itself, might look like this if you open the diagnostics window…

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0;
chromeframe; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; InfoPath.1;
.NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; .NET4.0C)
Timestamp: Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:18:06 UTC

Message: Object expected
Line: 2 Char: 1 Code: 0

A serious problem is that pages are getting richer in content, but page developers are failing to test in multiple browsers, consider different bandwidth devices, different size screen failing to provide fall back styles where they sue advanced facilities, etc.

White Screen of Death by waiting…

Another issue is that page developers, and most content management systems and social network style web pages are laid out in ways that mean the page does not render until most of the content has been downloaded to the browser. Where the page contains many thumbnails, images, and other large volume content this can mean the user sees a blank screen for a long time on slower links before the whole page is shown. Progressive rendering of downloaded content is not possible if the style typical of social network web pages is adopted. The developers of those web pages and styles often fail to set image and table/element pre-size indicators which means the content has to be loaded before the browser can decide on the layout position.

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