Web site Hall of Shame

©Nisse Engström | Updated: 2008‑06‑15 Reviewed: 2008‑06‑01


Introduction

People often ask in the Opera newsgroups why a particular web page is rendered incorrectly in Opera. Occasionally, when I have some spare time and lack the energy to work on one of my projects, I put myself to the task of finding out exactly why the rendering goes wrong.

Sometimes, it turns out to be a genuine bug in the browser, and I or someone else ends up filing a bug report. Other times, it is unclear whether or not the rendering is correct. But usually, it boils down to an error in the web page, such as a misunderstanding of the author, a plain old typo or just badly written code by incompetent authors.

And then, there are cases that really stand out from the crowd. Cases where the page contain errors in such a number, or of such nature, that one cannot even begin to comprehend how any browser, even IE, can be expected to make any kind of sense at all of the page.

This page is about those special cases.

The pages

The following modification have been made to the local pages:

Goodjet.com - Stack overflow

Date: 2002-09-23
Details:

Back in 2002, there was a new airline called Goodjet which I decided to check out. When I visited their website, I was greeted with a stack overflow in the ECMA interpreter. The site was entirely useless to me, and Goodjet folded in early 2003. I wonder if there was a connection.

Goodjet got on my bad side for the following reasons:

  • As I recall it, the site was entirely useless without Javascript and cookies enabled.
  • Code that puts more than 10000 expressions on the stack must be seriously unsound. Alas, all I have saved is the screen shot above.

Mummy Maze Deluxe v1.1 - Walkthru

Date: 2004-09-12
References: Article in opera.beta
Details:
  • Invalid nesting of elements.
  • Invalid nesting of tags.
  • <LI> elements used without <UL>.
  • Missing end tags.
  • Invalid quoting of attributes (Six double quotes in one attribute value, none of them correct).
  • Unescaped URLs.
  • Some 240 validation errors!
  • And much more.

Ebay.de - Der Schuh des Manitu

Date: 2004-11-25
References:
Details: What can I say? The page has an amazing 420 nested <FONT> and <STRONG> tags and, as if that wasn’t atrocious enough, two stray </LI> and </UL> tags buried inside.

Picajet.com - Fotoverwaltungsprogramm

Date: 2005-02-14
References: Article in news:opera.beta
Details:
  • 6 <!DOCTYPE>’s!
  • 5 <html> elements!
  • Incredibly, all the elements (inside each <html>), are correctly nested, except the following cock-up on line 468: <p><strong><font color="#ac7b00"></font></strong></span></strong></B></FONT></p>

Informit.com - Server error

Date: 2005-04-03
References: Aticle in news:opera.beta
Details:

I tried to use informit.com’s contact form to report some trivial error, only to find a server error page, complete with instructions on how to configure the server!

Interestingly, the contact form had a hidden input control which contained a mail address, so I tried to report the problem by mail. I never got a response and tried to use the contact form a few times more after that, but it never worked.

This page made it to the Hall of Shame because:

  • The contact form didn’t work, even after many days,
  • The error page contains instructions to the web master,
  • The contact form contained the target mail address (which isn’t necessarily a problem),
  • And finally, because they neither replied to email, nor fixed any of the errors.

Posten.se - Blocked content

Date: 2007-12-10
Details:

I’ve added my employer to the Hall of Shame because they’ve blocked one of my pages for no discernable reason.

Evolt - Precondition failed

Date: 2008-01-27
Details:

Why exactly do I fail to qualify as a human being, and what do I have to do to convince Evolt otherwise? Perform a secret handshake? Wave a dead chicken? Use telekinetic powers? Unfortunately, the page doesn’t say.

Lightspeed Web Graphics - Scion of Satan’s web page

Date: 2008-04-19
Details:

From the page itself:

Opera the Browser Scion of Satan

The banners on display below will NOT WORK with Opera, a miserable browser, a scion of Satan, reviled by experts around the world as a browser with criminal flaws. Opera -- less than 1% of all browsers -- is broken and everybody knows it except for a handful of wannabe geeks who don't give a hoot about standards designed by the World Wide Web Consortium to bring sanity to the web.

Well chum, before you go dissin’ browsers, maybe you should:

  • close all those <FONT> elements
  • or better yet: lose the <FONT> elements and tons of inline styles, and start using a real style sheet
  • not put <P> inside an unclosed <DIV> inside a <FONT>
  • use a DOCTYPE to trigger standards mode
  • start to give a hoot about standards designed by the World Wide Web Consortium to bring sanity to the web?

Abuse.ch - Because we know best

Date: 2008-06-01
Details:

Considering that I have not had a single virus or other malware infection on this computer since 1999, I think I am capable to decide for myself whether or not my setup is secure.

Strangely enough, I get the same page even if I tell it that "User-Agent: Opera/9.50 (This is not Windows 98; U; en)". :-)

What’s really interesting is how I came across this site: Someone used it to send a URL injection attempt against my site.

The original page is served as Content-Type: text/html, but note the total absence of DOCTYPE and any HTML tags except the two stray </em> tags, and the lack of charset specification and the trailing UTF-8 BOM.

Microsoft.com - Requires something else

Date: 2008-06-15
Details:

When I went to the Microsoft Discussion Groups on www.microsoft.com to search for something, I was greeted with a <meta> refresh to a page with the following message:

Warning: This page requires the use of scripts, which your browser does not currently allow.

For your information, the page does not require the use of scripts; It requires the turning off of automatic redirection. Just show me the page, dammit.