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pudge (1)

pudge
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http://pudge.net/
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I run this joint, see?

Journal of pudge (1)

Monday March 04, 2002
08:03 PM

I will not bend to Microsoft's will! I will not!

[ #3292 ]

Microsoft has introduced a bug into most versions of Windows Internet Explorer whereby s/(\S)\s+([,.;:/]\S)/$1 $2/g ... that is, if you have HTML that matches that, this .is .my .text .nyah .nyah .nyah, then the spaces will be replaced by non-breaking spaces when the page is rendered.

Now, web browsers usually stretch out a page horizontally to accomodate non-breaking spaces, and MSIE is no exception. So any user can stretch out a page on a site that allows comments posting by just inserting a "." (or , ; : /) before each word.

So what to do about it? I tried various things like converting spaces to other characters (like the new ‌, thanks TorgoX) but it didn't do the trick. The only thing that works is to either disallow such text, which is unreasonable -- we won't let Microsoft's bug dictate that people can't use PERIODS in their posts -- or we could match the pattern and insert an   (yes, you're reading right, inserting a non-breaking space actually tells MSIE to break where it previously wasn't breaking! wooooo!), but that too is munging a user's comment text because of a Microsoft bug. It's less intrusive than disallowing overabundance of periods, but it is still annoying, and we don't want to do it.

And of course, we get a lot of people saying there's a "bug" in Slash. It is a bug in MSIE. There is no bug in Slash relating to this. To say otherwise means you are a liar, or you are ignorant.

So we are stuck with either munging user input or just letting Windows MSIE users deal with it, and optionally complain to Microsoft. For now, we've chosen the latter.

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  • MSIE drove me nuts for the other reason: regions where no break should have occurred, and they did. (Good description of this here [cs.tut.fi].)

    So in a site which otherwise completely passes xhtml and css validators... we had to break down and use nobr tags. *grumble*

  • Once I again, I find myself between the horns of the Redmond dilemma. On the one hand, it would be great if we all moved beyond operating systems that were designed for 20-30 year old hardware (yes, I'm including Unix in this rant). On the other hand, most folks (including me) sometimes just want to use a computer like an appliance: no thought, no maintenance, no service packs. I call this mode of operation: just do it, bitch.

    What this has to do with Pudge's log entry is that my first response was going to
    • Perhaps Uncle Bill will be kind enough to release a service pack to fix this? :-D
      Only if you can demonstrate that this is a security bug.

      Oh, wait. That was last month's issue. This month, you need to demonstrate that fixing this bug will prevent people from pirating digital audio and video from Disney.

  • Found the jerk who's doing this on slashdot. Of course, as a mozilla user, it doesn't affect me.

    What if you do something like put in a <br> every 20 words or so if the post exceeds a certain period to character ratio? It seems like there has to be some way to fix it.

    Can a person use the foes system to make posts appear at -2? That might help moderators who browse at -1. (Wish I knew what that was like; 50-karma though I am, with almost half of my stories accepted, I never get to moderate slash

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • The only way to fix it is to munge possibly legitimate posts. That is a poor option at best.

      What annoys me about this one is that users can mess up a web page using only ASCII characters. No tags, no entities. Just plain text. That is so exceedingly lame, and I shouldn't have to bother with it. If it became a huge problem, we probably would do something, but it would be lame.

      As to -2: no, -1 is the lowest. But yes, most users won't have to bother. If you want to view at -1 and use MSIE for Windows,