Monday, August 20, 2012

Whoops, that IS an error!

Hey come on Blogger, don't suggest to a user that they clear their cache and cookies because your site crashed! That's just rude.


So, because Blogger crashed, you should have to log in anew to Facebook, Amazon, this site, that site, just because Blogger crashed? Naaaah. "Try refreshing the page to see if things are back in order?" Sure, I can do that, that's probably what I would have done anyway. But is it just me or is there a slight whiff of blame emanating from the instruction to "clear" these stale, soiled cookies from your hard drive that you have somehow accumulated that are preventing little old Blogger from doing what it wants to do? Get the fuck outta here!

We're having some problems with users who can't login on the Mater Patient Portal - every site with real people using it will have problems like this - and one suggestion that was made was to suggest to people to clear their browser cache and remove their cookies. Even if this was successful, it's too disruptive to people to do this. It's like hiding their car keys.

I don't know about you, but nowadays I might have a couple of hundred cookies on my hard drive. So I thought I'd check.


That's a lot of cookies.

Look at this small section of the list of cookies I have accumulated in Chrome. This is just part of the google.com cache. Are the other Google teams going to thank the Blogger team for killing the cookies they create? As you can see from the size of the scrollbar in the screenshot, there is a whole jar full of cookies there.

There's nary a site nowadays that doesn't want to personalise your experience when you visit, or in some way track your behaviour. I don't mean track as in snoop or pry, I mean simply to log your visit for their, and possibly your, benefit. Like maybe serving you some half-decent ads. Or saving you from personalising over and over their front page. As you can tell, I have no problem with cookies. I can't stand all this knuckleheaded posturing about cookies abroad today. But that's another blog post.

As well as cookies, you can see there's a lot of "Local storage" items in there. That's HTML5 Web Storage, which can be up to 64Kb per domain, which it seems to me is a shame to just throw away, because ... something happened in Blogger, and ... this might fix it? And Web Storage tends to be treated the same as cookies by browsers, cleared when cookies are cleared. There's even a type of storage in that list called "Database storage", which I'm guessing is actually SQL Database stuff, even though that API is no longer being supported.

Blogger can do a small, discreet, non-intrusive error. I know it can, because here's a nice one I found when I tried to preview my post.


Now, that's what I'm talking about.