JavaScript: Why You Don't Know More About It
Subject:   I leave javascript disabled like a growing number of others
Date:   2001-05-18 12:46:32
From:   tz
There was some study showing that the number of browsers with javascript on or active went DOWN over the last year. It is still a minority, but over 20% Don't use it. I think a large majority of the rest are probably irritated by it. All those pop-up ads, modal dialogs, or having your browser crash when going to certain pages tends to make it a harm rather than a help.

You should start with an article with "Why should you NOT use javascript?". Here is a partial list:

1. NEVER EVER use javascript to replace a standard HTML form with submit. You won't be able to validate everything, and you will consume more bandwidth sending the code to attempt to do so and just irritate users with either something that doesn't work or annoy (e.g. despite what your stupid modal dialog says, my areacode is really that, they recently changed it so your 60k list of states v.s. area codes is out of date).

2. NEVER EVER use javascript to pop up a new window. The only exception is if there is some very special process that the user can't do using an ordinary link "Open link in new window". Given all the annoying banner ads I can understand why people are turning javascript completely off (I once had a site pop open a half-dozen porn sites and an equal number of banner ads then crashed my browser when I mistakenly left it on, and the originating site didn't sound like anything wierd).

3. NEVER EVER use javascript to do something like navigation that can be accomplished with normal HTML. Your site should work as well as possible with browsers that have Javascript turned off. When you have that working and have something that cannot be possibly done in any other manner, maybe consider using javascript.

4. If you want people with a browser other than Internet Explorer for Windows access your site, don't used Javascript. Netscape (4.x) often crashes, OmniWeb isn't fully functional, lynx and wget have no support, and you shouldn't use anything you can't test on these platforms. Of course you should test Mozilla and NS 6.0. I don't know about opera or the web appliances but they should be tested too. If you really want to not work with anything but Microsoft, just make your entire site an Active-X application and be done with it.

Basically if I have trouble with a site, viewing the source usually shows up some Javascript that is actually broken or (that I've) disabled, and I send a nasty message to the Webmaster if I can't navigate the site.

As long as browsers don't let me control my browsing with Javascript on, it will remain off OmniWeb has a pop-up only in response to user interaction option, and I can bring up the navigation bar even if the script window has it off by default.

And despite your article's title, 90% of the javascript I've encountered falls into one of the above 4 exclusions - popping up an extraneous window that I didn't want or would have preferred to be in the current browser window, duplicating the function of an ordinary SUBMIT, often without any checking, or crashing or causing some other problem (e.g. blank screens - like the case statement with IE and NS only and it just sits there if the browser doesn't exactly match the absolute latest internet explorer or netscape).

I may be sorry for the other 10% of the sites that might actually work better with it, but the sooner this goes away, the better my browsing experience will be.

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  1. That really makes me angry!
    2002-07-27 09:39:57  mattstanton [View]

  2. I leave javascript disabled like a growing number of others
    2001-05-19 08:08:54 [View]

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