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JavaScript and AJAX Forum

Surfing with javascript disabled... and loving it!

 5:42 am on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Curiousity got the best of me, as it often does... It all started when I decided to eliminate the few remnants of javascript from one of my sites; a reality check led to the conclusion that the included scripts served no real purpose other than vanity enhancing "psuedo-coolness," much in the way I used to "abuse" Flash.

This bit of introspection led me to see just how much I needed javascript located on other sites, sites that I surfed through in the normal course of the day.

Hitting F12 on my shiny new Opera 6.02 Beta browser I brought up Quick Preferences and with little to no hesitation, I unchecked "Enable Javascript" - Poof! Gone! No more javascript until I feel the need....

I've been surfing through a great many sites and what I find amazing... it that there IS life without javascript! Yes, it is very useful in certain situations, even necessary; but for how simple it is to "re-enable javascript" when required, I think for now I will leave the settings "as is."

I like it... very peaceful! Besides, I get a kick out of the message I get when I drop by AOL.com telling me I need to enable javascript and cookies to fully enjoy their site. I don't know... I'm kind of enjoying it more!


Robert Charlton

 5:56 am on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Me too. I've been surfing in IE with all active scripting and ActiveX disabled, and... not only no pop-up windows... but you can easily see what sites the spiders aren't going to be able to penetrate.


 7:37 am on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

There is so much in the way of powerful interfaces, improved load time, etc that javascript can be used for. It's a shame that 99% of the time its popups, image swaps, status bar manipulation, and little flying images chasing your mouse.


 8:29 am on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

How about those rollover divs that attach themselves to your cursor after they become visible! Who ever thought that one up, anyway?

I know I might start a ruckus here, but I have been strongly disliking those "dropdown" DHTML menus. When they're done well - that is, when the menu items make good sense and the IA is well thought out - then they're not too bad. Although, I still miss being able to see all my choices at one time.

But many times these drop-down doo-dads are just a designer's toy, and I end up popping over one item after another trying to figure out which link might hold what I'm looking for. Of course with JS turned off, I just can't get into the pages at all!


 1:03 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

...popups, image swaps, status bar manipulation, and little flying images chasing your mouse.
come from the "I'm clever, you're not, look what I can do! school of Web Design.

Those "adhesive rollover divs" and DHTML menus were created to serve everyone's "sense of discovery," right? I mean, we all love suprises don't we? Who knows what absolutely wonderful things may be hidden three levels deep in a hierarchal menu!? ;)


 2:59 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I can't see where to disable JS in Internet Explorer or I'd love to try "surfing" without it. Just for fun.

But I think I'll prefer having it on and just staying away from sites with so many tricks as to be annoying. But then, that may include my own! (A calculator that couldn't run without it.)

Thanks for the discussion,



 3:48 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I believe Javascript is disabled in the "Internet Options" Security tab, custom button.

I surf without javascript and I love it. Hate all of the do-dads and i've found that javascript seems to be mostly used for advertising.

Robert Charlton

 9:22 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>approximately 12% of surfers do so with javascript "turned-off" or "disabled" on their browsers<<

papabaer - You posted this on another thread but I thought it would be best to follow up here. Do you know where can I get further information/ demographics/ etc on this? I'd love to be able to alert clients to this; it's been an ongoing battle.

Also, any stats about percentages with ActiveX disabled?


 9:40 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Robert, here is one source:

The actual statistics flucuate from 11% to 12% by month though it appears to be slightly increasing: Jan/Feb 11% (javascript: false) to March/April 12% (javascript: false).

It may be that as more users become aware of the capability of the newer browsers, they are more likely to use the feature to disable javascript.

From the petty annoyances to the more weighty security matters, the ability to disallow scripting while surfing has its merits.

I have not sought out stats for ActiveX but there should be info available. I am curious myself.


 10:05 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

My website has been referenced in articles in three national magazines (that I know of) including Yahoo!; countless newspaper articles including a syndicated one in The Washington Post which was printed in papers all over the U.S.; and on I don't know how many TV news reports.(Please excuse the bragging -- I'm about to make a point.)

I always found it interesting that almost none of the authors checked with me before publication. Now I find it fascinating (or horrifying!?!) that 12% of their readers went to my page only to find it blank!



While I always assumed everyone had JS enabled, I have been very careful to code my pages for IE, Netscape and WebTV; and for both high and lower screen resolutions. And I created a page of counters to see what my visitors were using.

FYI typical counts were:
IE: 20,300
Netscape: 2,300
WebTV: 25
Other: 10
Low Resolution (< or = 800): 13,400

The last one was the surprise to me and since discovering it I have made my pages look good for the lower resolution as well as the higher one I use myself.


 10:20 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes, as in all things web-related, javascript requires testing to make sure that the page "degrades gracefully".

I don't worry too much about percentages - I like solid numbers. As I've said before here, I'll take 88% of 100,000 over 98% of 50,000 any day.

> Low Resolution (< or = 800)

800x600 is not particularly a low resolution. In fact, last I checked, it was the predominant resolution. Since WebTV (now MSN TV) is something like 570 px wide, I'd think that coding for them takes care of almost everyone except the PDA crowd.


 10:45 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, I'm saddened to read that so many web designers here dislike JavaScript. Especially when these tools can be used in so many positive ways. Everyone seems to exemplifying the worst and not acknowledging creative, well intrigated applications than serve to enhance the user's experience as well as present succinct navigation.

JavaScript also serves as an alternative to SSI to call external webpage functions with unsupportive servers, thus cutting code bloat.

Don't condem the tool for the poor judgement of a few craftsmen.


 11:08 pm on Apr 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

keyplr, I agree wholeheartedly, it is not the fault of the "tool" just as Flash cannot be blamed for those who misuse it.

For me, I am trying to honestly eliminate "gratuitous" uses of both Flash and javascript. I also intend to continue using both where I deem appropriate.

From a "surfers" perspective, I am rather enjoying my new settings. I also suspect that at least a sizeable majority of those opting to disable javascript on their browsers also know when to "enable" it.

I doubt if very much traffic is truly lost because of these settings. And most of all, I certainly agree with Tedster's perspective on "net-percentages."

I have been surfing using IE6 "ready-for-any-script-that-comes-my-way" and Opera with javascript disabled.

It is very informative doing a side-by-side, especially surfing well known news and information sites! A pop-up on every page with one... nary a whisper on the other.


Robert Charlton

 7:00 am on Apr 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

pb - Thanks for thecounter.com link. It's amazing how many sites I run into that simply won't function without javascript, and how hard it is to convince site owners or developers that they really haven't thought this through. Being able to tell them that it's more than just search engines that can't see their sites will be helpful.


 7:11 am on Apr 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, spam is killing javascript the same way it is threatening to kill email.

For us, our main use of javascript is to display news headlines from external news feeds and to provide ways for people to comment on our articles and columns. That is a "good" use of js we would think, but people like Papabear wont see them!

We are just accepting reality and are now replacing javascript headlines with Php includes using other ways of parsing RSS and XML. Havent found a way to replace js in discussions/our current discussion board formats however.

It's unfortunate for sure, but the customer is always right and if they are turning off js we must respond.


 7:41 am on Apr 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Surfing paradise [cgi-fun.hypermart.net] for me is cruising the web in a under 300Kb browser. It loads up in 1/2 a second (really, I am not exaggerating), and no js! When I want a full on, the works kind of browser I use Galeon [galeon.sourceforge.net], which has built in anti-popup support. Yet, I find my self using the little browser most of the time these days.
the little Browser's homepage. [dillo.cipsga.org.br]


 8:44 am on Apr 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's both funny and sad, and as Chiyo says, SPAM is hurting javascript by the shear numbers of abusive uses.

Okay... side by side, IE (script enabled), Opera (javascript/off) - hit a site today, not really sure where, that took over IE and changed the default search engine. It added sp.dll to my Windows folder and modified my registry to "reset search prefernces" each time I rebooted. I was able to clear this out pretty quickly, in fact, I used Googles search preference page to restore IE to the default search settings.

Continued surfing... At a very well known news site, MSIE welcomes in one or two pop-ups with each new page... Opera (javascript/off) lets me read the news without "rude intrusions"

Now, I am surfing the console/game sites, looking to see if anyone can actually name the two (alledged) bonus guns for Halo (Bungie/Xbox), once again, IE is inundated with annoying pop-ups, while I cruise un-assailed with Opera.

I move on to Google's Newgroups: comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets - doing some research, following links, MSIE is dancing the javascript-jig everytime I hit a site whose webmaster hails from the "I-luv-pop-ups-doesn't-everyone?" school of thought... aaaarrrrrrhhhhgggg!

Now, I have had enough of "javascript-spam" for one day, so I put MSIE to rest and continue with Opera. As a lark, I re-check Enable Javascript, back to a Google search, more game sites... first one takes Opera and resizes the Window (SDI mode) and throws some Casino Cr*p Advertisement where it is not welcomed. F12 (Quick prefences) un-check "Enable:Javascript" come back to WebmasterWorld and what to you know, the topic is "topical."

I had five straight days of peaceful surfing until today's experiment... Want to guess how my Quick Prefence settings will remain from now on?

I really don't miss much, because it is often apparent when a javascript feed is missing on a page... a few quick keystrokes and JS is back functioning, I'll take the two-steps required to "enable" javascript when needed over ALL the annoyances otherwise. I have a growing suspicion that I am not alone....


 5:55 pm on Apr 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

This discussion has caused me to make some changes.

My homepage is a calculator coded in JavaScript, so I can't avoid JS there. But I have added a noscript message so at least people surfing with JS disabled will know what hit them:

<snipped URL>

I have another page which gets a lot of visitors directly from search engines. It is mostly text and didn't look too bad without JS... so I made a few adjustments to make it look better.

<another snip>

I also put a noscript note on it because from the description in the search engine results they will be expecting a link to my calculator.

Thanks for all your thoughts on this,


(edited by: Xoc at 7:16 pm (utc) on April 15, 2002)


 11:25 pm on Apr 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

My feelings are JavaScript is a great extension to HTML. Allowing modification of certain page elements, such as simple mouse-overs and such. One great advantage of JavaScript is the ability to preload certain items.

But now it's too late!

I think they made it just a little too easy for anyone with a pair of thumbs to just copy and paste JavaScript code! Many sites abuse the privledge by disabling the back button, the right mouse button, the ability to close certain windows with another damn window popping up to replace it. And the worst...

Now anyone is able to create pop-up infested, nausating palette rotating background websites, and serenade you while you're trying to back out of their black hole of web trash.



 5:01 pm on Apr 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's about time that JavaScript options in browsers give you the options of what you want to accept. For instance, in Opera, you can disable pop-up windows and still have JavaScript active. There are so many other options and choices we could have - stop the disabling of the back button, stop people over-riding our homepages (although JavaScript WILL warn you before this happens, whereas Java will not). The list of choices could go on - and would give a whole better web experience for every user.

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