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October 21st, 2006 - James Antill

Oct. 21st, 2006

04:41 am - Re(tar)ddit.com, newegg and others ignoring HTTP/HTML

So I tried reddit.com about a year ago, mainly due to the whole Y combinator thing. It seemed like it might be cute, but at the time didn't seem to contain any decent content on the front page and it required JavaScript to do anything interactive. So, I figured I'd come back a bit later when they've had a chance to polish it and take another look.

As you might guess, it's still JS only and they almost seem proud of it. Like they get more Web-2.0 juice or something. Hello 1995 called to let you know links are possible without JS. They even have "buttons" that you can attach to your site, so people can vote up/down your content easily ... but the "button" is just a script tag. Yeh, so not only do I apparently want to leave all my non-JS enabled agents out in the cold ... I want to actively mix-in JS from a third party? It's like the blind being led by the retards.

I could almost understand, the "JS is almost everywhere" so we'll just ignore everyone who wants security/stability/speed kind of argument for reddit.com ... if the rest of their usage of HTTP/HTML didn't seem like it was written by a 13yr old. For instance http://reddit.com/static/reddit.js is their "main" blob of imported JS functions. Now, given it says static in the URL, you might imagine that this library code would be heavily optimized with all the latest HTTP bits possible (in fact I was surprised there wasn't a version/date in the URL). But no, there's no Expires/Cache-Control headers. At least it has an ETag and does Content-Encoding (although lighttpd is broken and ignores it for HEAD requests).

But, reddit.com is still somewhat easy to dismiss as crack smokin' 13yr olds who still need a few years to grow up. After all it's not a real business, and probably doesn't make worthwhile amounts of money. But, then, newegg.com does ... and there almost everything works without JS, the notable exception being actually doing the sale. Sure, let me look at stuff and even do searches with a secure browser ... but when I need to type in my credit card, that's the time to rely on JS to do 1998 style forms.

Unsurprisingly amazon.com, as the largest online retailer, have consistently had the best UI for non-JS user-agents. And even though tags, as their latest tweak, started off as JS only then moved to working perfectly without JS within a couple of weeks. But, I guess maybe it's got less 2.0 juice now.

Current Mood: shockedshocked
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