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Netscape 4.7 and Cookie Amnesia
multiple windows bring out the bugs
tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 359 posted 6:28 am on Mar 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've just zeroed in on a strange browser bug. Netscape 4.7 shows this sporadic behavior when I open multiple windows -- sometimes (but not always) the windows that were opened later in the session don't do the job of tapping my cookie jar -- and my preferences, etc. get forgotten.

I first noticed this because I set my preference on Google to show 100 results per page -- but all of a sudden I was seeing the default ten. Then I realized that I had another Google window open that showed the 100. Then later I was visiting Amazon and they forgot my name!

All along I thought that Brett had something buggy in his cookie code here, because I would be logged in and all of a sudden get a screen that called me "Guest".

There are at least three different ways that multiple windows get opened. One is the kind I decide to open, directly from the browser by choosing file/New/Navigator Window. Then there are the child windows spawned by target="_top". Last, there is javascript.

I think it's the window opened with target="_top" that gets Cookie Amnesia, because there are other bugs in new windows opened that way as well -- like they have sporadic trouble actually sending a request to the server. I'm already used to clicking on such links several times in order to get the page to load.

This cookie thing could impact design of a website if you are tracking user sessions, preferences, shopping carts, etc.

 

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 359 posted 4:52 pm on Mar 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

>All along I thought that Brett had something
>buggy in his cookie code here

Ah ha! Vindication! *grin*

target="_top

No such construct. _blank is the only legal way to open a new window. Yes, lots and lots of people use _top and it works by taking advantage of browser defaults, but this may be where it breaks down. I'm slowly weeding out any remaining ones I run into.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 359 posted 10:16 pm on Mar 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> target="_top". No such construct.

You're right, I meant target="_blank". If I go too far down a chain of those windows, eventually the documents in them won't read cookies.

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 359 posted 6:03 am on Mar 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I meant _new not _top. (momentary lapse).

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 359 posted 8:35 pm on Mar 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

The rest of this story, is that there was a bug in my favorite browser a few versions ago. It was dealing with target=_blank, and _top. It was a long torid debate that left me fatigued about the whole issue. My stance, was that the browser shouldn't be obeying a new window on anything but a proper target of a frame, or the other default targets (top,blank...), but there are so many sites out there using various "target" tricks with IE and NN, that it had to obey even "_new" or anything nonstandard as a new window. As you can see above, the whole issue left me confused and the syntax obfuscated. Mark it up to one of the hazards of testing products.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 359 posted 9:03 pm on Mar 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, I have no excuse like testing products, but obviously I confuse the syntax for target=.

However, my bug-find stands. I've confirmed that it is sporadic, but NN4.7 has bugs around target="_blank" (yes, that's what I actually mean, _blank). These are most visible when the new window won't actually call out to the server for the site. But even after a page is actually downloaded, the cookies are seomtimes out of reach for the new window.

This has real implications for anyone using cookies on a site. If you are tracking user sessions, you will miss some data. And the user you so efficiently welcomed by name will all of a sudden become a generic visitor/guest. If the visitor needs to perform some action from the new window, they may need to log-in again. Their shopping cart may be lost, etc.

I'd say the moral is avoid using target="_blank" while Netscape 4.7 has a decent user base.

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