ImageShack Toolbar causes incorrect results from ASP.NET’s browser checking code

We recently updated a few of our web sites with code that would provide a ‘nicer’ experience for browsers that were not compatible with the ASP.NET ATLAS (AJAX) scripts we were using. For some reason though, a few users who were running a fully compatible browser (Firefox 2.0.0.*), were seeing the no-script experience. We were puzzled, but one of the users figured out that their ImageShack toolbar might be causing the problem. Sure enough, after I installed that same toolbar myself I was able to test and confirm that it truly is causing the confusion.

Using a little test page, http://www.duncanmackenzie.net/services/browserinfo.aspx (feel free to use it for your own testing), I received the following results for Firefox 2.0.0.11 on Vista before installing the ImageShack toolbar.

Request.Browser

  • .Type: Firefox2.0.0.11
  • .Platform: WinNT
  • .Version: 2.0.0.11
  • .Browser: Firefox
  • .Crawler: False
  • .EcmaScriptVersion: 1.4
  • .IsMobileDevice: False
  • .MobileDeviceManufacturer: Unknown
  • .MobileDeviceModel: Unknown
  • .Beta: False

 

After installing the toolbar, I get this:

Request.Browser

  • .Type: Mozilla1.8.1.11
  • .Platform: WinNT
  • .Version: 1.8.1.11
  • .Browser: Mozilla
  • .Crawler: False
  • .EcmaScriptVersion: 1.4
  • .IsMobileDevice: False
  • .MobileDeviceManufacturer: Unknown
  • .MobileDeviceModel: Unknown
  • .Beta: False

 

Note the version change and the change in Request.Browser.Browser, certainly enough to throw off our atlas-compatibility check. I haven’t figured out the appropriate fix for this yet, but it is nice to at least have one possible explanation as to why valid browsers are sometimes seeing our ‘no script’ experience.

Code Metrics in Visual Studio 2008 and the EvNet project

I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I thought it was neat that I could right-click the main project (excluding all our client script and HTML) that runs behind on10.net, pick code metrics and see cool #s like “23,442 lines of code” 🙂

 

Lately though, I’ve seen us reducing that number while adding features, so this might the highest result I’ll ever see for this project 🙂

The Viewport Meta Tag and the iPhone

I’ve been fiddling around with mobile interfaces for both my personal site and for the various sites I work on (http://on10.net, http://channel9.msdn.com, amongst others) and I noticed the use of <meta name=”viewport” content… /> on some other mobile sites. A quick search and I found a great discussion of the viewport meta tag on furbo.org (the apple developer site provides the same info in a more reference format). Turns out this simple meta tag helps Mobile Safari determine how best to scale your site for the smaller screen of the iPhone (relative to a desktop that is). I don’t have an iPhone, or an iPod touch for that matter (I gather the experience would be similar… if you don’t want to get a full blown cell account I’d suggest the ‘touch’ for testing purposes), although I found a great testing site for the iPhone (best viewed with Safari 3.0 on your desktop).

Looking for good examples of Mobile Interfaces

I’m part of a dev team that builds blog/forum software and I’ve been thinking about mobile interfaces lately… so I’m trying to find a good example of site like ours that provides a good (enjoyable, useful and usable) mobile interface… one that will work across a variety of browses. It seems 37 Signals is thinking about the same thing these days and they’ve made a blog post looking for exactly the same thing I am, examples of good mobile interfaces. I’m looking for sites that are some combination of text and video blogging and are usable via a relatively modern phone. I found a lot of the comments to that post to be completely unhelpful… because they were focused on sites that are specific to the iPhone! Building an interface for the iPhone is not a bad idea, but I certainly wouldn’t try to do that until after we had a good general purpose interface for a much wider variety of mobile devices. I did find a few interesting sites though, from the comments and from another site (Brian Cantoni’s list of good mobile sites at http://cantoni.mobi/):

 

Of course, all of these map well to the home page of our site(s) (like on10.net or Channel 9), I wonder if there are any good examples for a web forum? I’m pretty sure that a lot of our users would like to be able to view Channel 9’s Coffeehouse on their mobile device, and off hand I don’t know what the ideal experience for that would be.

On a related note, Brian Cantoni (the author of that list of good mobile sites) has a great series of blog articles about testing your web applications across all major smartphone platforms.

Trying to open a file into VS 2005/2008 … never works from Explorer

So I have a file on disk, web.config in this case, and I right click and pick ‘open with | Visual Studio 2008’ … and I get this:

 

Windows cannot find ‘C:\projects\9\web.config’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.

[OK]

 

VS 2008 opens, but no file. If I then pick the file from File | Open it works fine… what the hell? As far as I can remember, this was true with VS 2005 and it has annoyed me every day…

I’m planning to get rid of setting our Theme in ASP.NET

The auto inclusion of all our CSS files has finally become too annoying. We’ll still use the app_theme directory, as it is a handy way to store our stuff… but I’m really hoping to not set the theme, and to add the appropriate CSS for the situation (mobile vs desktop for example) while also combining our CSS files and ‘minifying’ them all through a simple ‘css.ashx’ style handler. This should make it easier to do that combining at run time, while leaving them nice and separate for debug and development purposes.

 

We might still have it set in development mode though, if it is necessary to get some of the editor awareness of our CSS… but I think we can make it work.

 

Death to app_themes!

Xbox.com Personalities answer a bunch of holiday questions

Trixie had all of us Xbox.com column writing folks answer a bunch of holiday themed questions recently, and I noticed tonight that the answers are all up on the site! Check out some interesting Q&A with Trixie, Major Nelson and others (including me, Xbox Dad).

Xbox.com Personalities at the Holidays

We asked the Xbox.com personalities to share some information on their holiday favorites. What did we learn? Egg nog, “A Christmas Story,” and Dean Martin pwn. Plus Major Nelson is a Grinch.