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Most Expensive JavaScript Ever? 405

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-their-best-work dept.
ekran writes "A while ago Opera Software needed more servers. Not just a few servers either — they were planning Opera Mini's growth, implementing Opera Link, and My Opera was also growing quickly. Most of the major hardware vendors grabbed their specs and came back with offers and sample servers shipped all the way to Oslo for testing. One of the biggest vendors, however, did not do their homework. They shipped the server, but when the Opera sysadmins started up the web-admin interface, they were met with a JavaScript statement that managed to piss off the whole company including the CTO. The script, apparently, locked out the Opera web-browser."
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Most Expensive JavaScript Ever?

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  • So who was it ?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ls671 (1122017) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @08:45AM (#28768471) Homepage

    I browsed the comments on the Opera blog and I could not find any definitive answer although HP and Dell are mentioned as possible culprits.

    So who was the culprit company ??

    Now that it is on /., I am sure that a member of the Slashdot intelligence community could come up with the answer. I offer a reward that will be paid in SMP currency, not in NOK. Sorry about that but I do not have any NOK at my disposal.

    currencies:
    NOK = Norwegian krone
    SMP = Slashdot Mod Points

    • by Chi-RAV (541181) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:01AM (#28768637)

      it's not HP as the link to what they actually buy shows they bought HP blades (http://www.digi.no/504306/her-kjores-egentlig-opera-mini&bid=6)

      my money is going on Dell.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433)
        HP's not much better though:
        var detect = navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();
        var ie = detect.match(/msie ([\d\.]+)/);
        var moz = detect.match(/rv:([\d\.]+)/);
        var fire = detect.match(/firefox\/([\d\.]+)/);
        if(
        ( ie!=null && ie[1] >= "6.0" ) ||
        ( fire!=null && fire[1] >= "1.0.2" ) ||
        ( moz!=null && moz[1] >= "1.6" )
        ) {
        // supported browser; do nothing
        } else {
        alert( "Integrated Lights-Out 2 supports Microsoft Internet Explorer ve
      • Actually, those pictures are old. That they had HPs before making the purchase doesn't mean that they chose them again.
      • by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvc@gm a i l . com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:51AM (#28769145) Homepage

        Ah yes, Dell Remote Access Controllers have a shitty as hell web interface that only seems to work in IE. I think it's supposed to work in firefox but it never has for me.

        • by cblack (4342) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:45AM (#28769891) Homepage

          Some of their ethernet switches block non-IE browsers as well. I forget which is which, but I think the PowerConnect 6000s warn about the browser but let you through, and the 5000s just refuse to let you in when running firefox on linux.
          My experience is from a few years ago and perhaps they have fixed their firmware since then, I know I filed a complaint.

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:03AM (#28768655)
      What's the current SMP/NOK exchange rate?
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Good thing you had that key at the end. I thought I would be payed in time on your server farm, not some silly mod points.

      I'm not answering you now :-P

    • by mcgrew (92797) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:18AM (#28768809) Homepage Journal

      currencies:
      NOK = Norwegian krone
      SMP = Slashdot Mod Points

      The uncyclopedia will explain:

      Economy
      The currency of Slashdot is the Karma Point (which recently replaced the archaic reputation point used under the barter system). In 2001, the Karma Point was cursed by an evil witch who got modded flamebait. Expert moneyologists agree that the curse is a serious matter, however its nature and effects are as yet unknown, although preliminary reports suggest a correlation between high Karma concentration and the Slashdot Effect.

      Slashdot's primary export is journalistic integrity, and Slashdot has grown almost as rich as Oscar Wilde due to skyrocketing prices because of the global shortage, as well as the Federation of Planets adopting integrity as its staple food. Some analysts and economists have speculated that Slashdot does not in fact have any journalistic integrity of its own, and that all exports are either counterfeit or borrowed from the World Bank in exchange for several life-debts. If these accusations turn out to be true, then Slashdot could owe the Wookies that own the Bank several billion lives in payment.

      Slashdot's primary import is n00bz, which upon arrival into the country are sent to meat factories to be processed into spam, an all-purpose household paste, good for use as a duct tape, glue, glue solvent, dodgeball, koala, roofing material or low-end computer. The manufacture of spam from n00bz is done through a process called pwnage.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by demachina (71715)

        The biggest failing of Slashdot Karma is the resolution is so low its effectively useless. Most people's Karma immediately shoots to Excellent and stays there for eternity or to "shitty troll" or whatever is the lowest rung of ./ Karma.

        Cmdr Taco made an enormous strategic blunder not making Karma a numeric value with no upper or lower limit cuz then it would be a ginormous horse race among karma whores to be #1 and trolls to be dead last. Comments from the #1 karma whore would be godlike in their powers.

    • Re:So who was it ?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:18AM (#28768813)

      I browsed the comments on the Opera blog and I could not find any definitive answer although HP and Dell are mentioned as possible culprits.

      Funny story. I have a large Dell LTO tape array, and it has a web-based management tool. Part of the management web pages generate on-the-fly images in XBM [74.125.47.132] format. IE had a security flaw in the parsing of XBM images, and since XBM images are so rare, Microsoft simply disabled XBM images entirely.

      So, I am forced to use firefox to manage the tape array.

    • by mmkkbb (816035)

      What is the NOK (norwegian krone)/NOK (Nokia shares) exchange ratio?

    • Re:So who was it ?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jefu (53450) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:51AM (#28769143) Homepage Journal
      A bit of exploration gives one possibility. This page, on Dell DRACs [dell.com] , which have a web interface, shows that the web interface supports really only IE and firefox, and those only on 32 bit machines.
  • by badfish99 (826052) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @08:51AM (#28768543)
    A while ago Opera Software needed more servers
    I think they still do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      A while ago Opera Software needed more servers
      I think they still do.

      Why do you think they put a server into every Opera browser?

  • HP probably (Score:4, Interesting)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @08:59AM (#28768603) Homepage

    Had the same thing on the webadmin interface for one of their ILO's. Or more precise, it wouldn't work on anything but IE. Hadn't seen that for quite a while.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is the current ILO script: if( ( ie!=null && ie[1] >= "6.0" ) || ( fire!=null && fire[1] >= "1.0.2" ) || ( moz!=null && moz[1] >= "1.6" ) ) { // supported browser; do nothing } else { alert( "Integrated Lights-Out 2 supports Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6.0 or greater, Firefox version 1.0.2 or greater, and Mozilla version 1.6 or greater. Some functionality may not work and pages may not format correctly on other brow
      • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:24AM (#28768857) Homepage Journal
        I've already found a defect in the revised sniffer. The variable names "fire" and "moz" appear to indicate that the code above this line would fail on Iceweasel, IceCat, SeaMonkey post-renaming, Fennec, K-Meleon, Epiphany, and other browsers using the same HTML/CSS/JavaScript engine as Firefox. Why is it testing for "fire" and "moz", not "gecko"? Having an alert() pop-up on (I'm guessing) every page is an improvement against immediate redirection to an error page, but it's still an annoyance.
  • by Loopy (41728) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:01AM (#28768635) Journal

    And if it was outsourced.

    • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:29AM (#28769689) Homepage Journal

      Don't forget this was demo hardware from companies responding to a tender. At this point Opera was still evaluating the hardware. Two things seem to have happened:
          - the software was implemented with an abort for Opera, either because QA was not done for Opera.
          - the vendor didn't appear to know what the primary product of Opera was, and what the browser requirements of their admin interface were.
      While the first scenario is bad enough, the second is just unforgivable, since it shows to the customer that the vendor apparently made no attempt to know who their customer was.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MemoryDragon (544441)

        Third answer, they ran into opera bugs and didnÂt have the finding to spend the necessary time to work around them.
        I recently had to do a degrated version of a site for opera because I ran into bugs and speedbumps not easily fixable and fixed
        by opera already in their alpha version of version 10.
        Sorry to say that while opera in its 9.x incarnation does not have many bugs it has some and some of them are really severe and not easy to bypass
        because opera does not allow conditional css includes like ie doe

  • let me take a guess (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zashi (992673) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:02AM (#28768641) Homepage Journal
    Having tested web based software for IBM before, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess it was IBM. Anyone here ever use SCM (Storage Configuration Manager)? It's utter shite; slow, buggy, and unsupported on anything other than firefox and IE.

    Remember kids, IBM Hardware = Good. IBM Software = Kill it with fire.
  • by mcgrew (92797) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:02AM (#28768645) Homepage Journal

    if (is.opera)
    {
    window.location.href="config/error.htm";
    }

    Conspiracy theorists unite!

  • by doas777 (1138627) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:02AM (#28768647)
    spoof the agent, just like everyone else who uses Opera
  • by popo (107611) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:05AM (#28768685) Homepage

    Not that Opera doesn't have serious funding... but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this javascript would be more expensive, most of the time
    .
    .

    if (is.explorer)
    {
    window.location.href="config/error.htm";
    }

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GayBliss (544986)

      Not that Opera doesn't have serious funding... but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this javascript would be more expensive, most of the time . .

      if (is.explorer) { window.location.href="config/error.htm"; }

      It would cut our UI development time by at least half!

      It typically comes down to developing the UI once for IE, and once for all others.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:06AM (#28768693)
    If you have an enemy, at least someone cares about you.

    The British cartoonist Giles is said to have made himself practically sacking proof by one of his cartoons. The Duke of Edinburgh remarked that "The [Daily, owned by Beaverbrook] Express is a bloody awful newspaper."

    Giles promptly did a cartoon of his employer being led off in chains by Yeoman Warders, watched by the Duke, with the caption

    "Ah well", said Lord B, as they trotted him off to the Tower, "At least he reads it, or he wouldn't know it's a bloody awful newspaper."

  • by judolphin (1158895) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:08AM (#28768713)

    This nonsense would never happen.

    I started as a web developer in the mid-90s. I know how hard it is to develop for multiple browsers and versions. When Netscape and Internet Explorer 4.0 came out, they quickly gained the majority of market share. Many colleagues did not want to keep their sites compatible with 3.x browsers because they felt it was a pain. I would always hear the sentence, "They only have a 5% market share."

    To me this was and still is a ridiculous attitude. You're OK randomly raising your middle finger to 1 in 20 potential customers visiting your site? What if that 1 in 20 is the wrong person? Obviously, in this case, they definitely raised their middle finger to the wrong people.

    But this gets even worse, because Opera is not obsolete and is fairly standards-compliant. To top it off, the vendor specifically broke the web site for the browser they were too lazy to design for, rather than doing something that makes sense -- like investing time and money to reach a small but tech-savvy segment of the population.

    All told -- shamefully -- it makes me feel a little Schadenfreude that it bit them in the rear.

    • by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:19AM (#28768819) Homepage Journal

      http://www.digi.no/504306/her-kjores-egentlig-opera-mini&bid=5 [www.digi.no]

      Notice anything odd about the large 48v DC power cables? Like the '+' and '-'... on the wrong lines...

      Forget a javascript issue, that there is a pretty huge installation issue.

      -Rick

      • Well, at least the installer was consistent. But yeah, ouch!
      • by Dunbal (464142)

        Maybe that's why the page is in this weird language...

      • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:41AM (#28769041) Homepage

        48V DC is an odd beast, with odd standards going back to the early days of the Bell System.

        In a 48V DC system, the positive side is grounded. This is to prevent corrosion on phone lines in the ground that happens more readily if the system is negative ground.

        Since positive is ground, the "live" wire is negative, or -48VDC. Since this is the wire you don't want to lick, or allow to touch the chassis when powered, it is colored red in many deployments. The black wire is ground, you can lick* it all you want.

        * -48V DC won't really sting you much if you just touch it unless your hands are wet or you touch it with a wet part of you like your tongue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Grishnakh (216268)

        No, that's correct. Black indicates ground, and red indicates power (which is -48V). This is a -48V system, so it's backwards from what you're used to looking at.

    • [Old versions of popular browsers] "only have a 5% market share."

      To me this was and still is a ridiculous attitude. You're OK randomly raising your middle finger to 1 in 20 potential customers visiting your site?

      They probably did a business decision that people in the last 5 percent to upgrade their web browsers buy less. You see, older browser versions tend to run better on obsolete PCs, and people who don't replace an obsolete PC are probably misers [wikipedia.org]: people who stretch their dollar so far that they are less likely to demand your luxury product. Case in point: PCs running IE 6 or Firefox 2 are likely to be at least eight years old.

    • Re: 5% (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lonewolf666 (259450)

      In general, not supporting a 5% market segment because it would cost too much development effort may be a reasonable decision.

      In this case, the real WTF was submitting the product in a bid for the vendor of said 5% market segment. And simply throwing an error if Opera is detected. That's like opening a business in a black neighborhood and putting up a sign that says "Niggers not allowed" ;-)

  • I've been a Dell user for a long time but I have never used one that shipped with a web interface. But the specs probably called for some pretty special stuff and it may not have been loaded with Windows at all. So I just have to know. Who was it? Was it my Dell? I could sort of believe it if it was Dell... sometimes the people there leave me scratching my head wondering what they were thinking and if they listened to me at all. But my preference for Dell is due in large part to my experience with HP

  • Headline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iVasto (829426)
    The headline is misinformative. Based upon the headline I would have expected to read about a company hiring a bunch of developers for a lot of money to code something cool in javascript. Perhaps a more appropriate headline is "Javascript locked out Opera, Opera locked out the company."
  • Heh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by popeyethesailor (325796) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:17AM (#28768805)

    Classic case of a company not knowing what their product is used for.

    Opera != Work Browser.
    Opera == Bestest P0rn Browser ! Swift image resizing, superior mouse gestures, and remaining responsive even after a gazillion tabs are opened.

    It's like turning up with your purpose-built race car at the city center, and whining about speed humps.

  • by dals_rule (1076803) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:39AM (#28769003)
    Many years ago, we were bidding on a US Postal Service contract to supply computer equipment to all of their offices. We had several pallets of bid material on the loading dock, ready to go. Fortunately, one of the program managers made a last minute check and discovered (in time!) that nobody had bothered to tell the shipping department to ignore the standard, "Ship all contract proposals FedEx, overnight", procedure in this case.....
  • by jenn_13 (1123793)
    ... who was expecting this to involve the new recovery.gov?
  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:42AM (#28769851) Homepage

    ... and it worked. It displays just fine. Are they trying to make their competitors look good or something?

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:23PM (#28772815) Journal

      Opera web site is actually a pretty impressive piece of code. It has all that nifty stuff like drop-down menus, and yet it also renders perfectly in Lynx (with menus as lists) - disable CSS and JavaScript in your browser, and you'll see. Meanwhile, it validates to XHTML 1.0 Strict [w3.org].

      It shouldn't be surprising, however, given that Opera guys are pretty keen on all Web-related standardization efforts - they've played a big role in initiating HTML5 effort (and are still very active in its development), before that they've participated in past W3C HTML/CSS standardization efforts, and they push for open standards (such as SVG) otherwise.

  • by Eskarel (565631) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @12:23PM (#28771153)
    though it all really depends on what was on that error page.

    I've seen Opera do some funny things with some RIA's I've written, the same code works on webkit, trident, and gecko with no problems, but Opera does some funny things. My code is probably wrong(it's a hack job on some badly designed pre-existing code, not a clean rewrite), but nevertheless it works fine on everything else.

    Seeing that I basically have 3 options.

    1. Spend a few weeks I don't have debugging/rewriting the code.
    2. Leave it as it is, and let the page render incorrectly, as I know for a fact it does.
    3. Create a redirect on the page which sends the user to an error page explaining that their browser is unsupported and asking them to please use another one.

    Any of these three options can be correct, depending on the needs of the business and the severity of the problem. In all reality, no matter how big this guy thinks there server order was, it was probably only a drop in the bucket overall, and in all reality no one was fired and nothing really happened, they lost a sale. They lost it on something stupid, but it's only one sale no matter how big it is(and it likely wasn't really all that big).

    Opera is not infallible, they've come up with a few fairly innovative design ideas, but they've always been crippled to a certain extent by ideology. Part of why Opera was and is so fast, and so light is that it is basically incredibly anal about exactly correct HTML syntax. In theory this is a good idea, but in practice it means that Opera has been plagued by pages which don't render correctly for it's entire lifespan. A lot of the web is sort of kludged together because the standards defining how to do things properly are always 2-3 years behind what people are actually doing, a lot of WYSIWYG editors spit out bad code, hand coders make mistakes. All these things happen, and Opera has never been even the remotest bit forgiving(oddly enough firefox is by far the most forgiving, substantially more so than IE) of any of it, which is one of the prime reasons IMO why it never really gets much market penetration despite generally speaking having most of the innovative web ideas before the competition. The fact that until fairly recently it was ad driven or cost money, isn't open source, and doesn't come installed on anyone's PC are of course others. There's really no need to switch to another browser which results in more broken pages, isn't free as in speech, and until very recently wasn't even free as in beer, no mater how innovative it is.

    • by metamatic (202216) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:49PM (#28773839) Homepage Journal

      My code is probably wrong(it's a hack job on some badly designed pre-existing code, not a clean rewrite), but nevertheless it works fine on everything else.

      So basically, you admit your code is probably wrong, but you can't be bothered to fix it? Fine, but don't complain when your code stops working or fails in someone's browser and you lose business as a result.

      The way I see it, this is only incidentally a story about stupidity. Not working in a standards-compliant web browser is a good indicator of poor web application quality. The cited behavior of deliberately failing in Opera would make me unlikely to pick the product, even though I'm a Firefox user.

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