Internet, Technology

You guessed it! More site snafus!

January 31st, 2007 by Jeff | Dump Core

I thought about just putting this in a comment to my last site problems post, but I figured it would be more visible as a new post. It seems every time I think I have things settled around here, something else pops up that goes wrong. An observant Faultie e-mailed to inform me of a few bugs that have cropped up in the move to WordPress. Investigating his issues led me to discover a few more, and hopefully by now they’ve all been squashed. We can all thank Tim from Germany for his attentiveness. (Thanks, Tim!)

First of all, I noticed that nothing on the page but the header image was showing up in Internet Explorer. The site was loading fine in Firefox (which is what I use 99.999% of the time), so it had to be some silly browser cross compatibility issue. WordPress prides itself on being XHTML compliant out of the box, so I figured it had to be something stupid that I did. Sure enough, I ran the site through the W3C validator and it came up with a bunch of errors, all of which were my own doing. I corrected all of those until the validator said the site was clean and retested it in IE. Predictably, it didn’t work. I had a hunch that it might have been the JavaScript I inserted into the page to let the Ben vs. Darth Vader video pop-up work, so I temporarily removed that from the page. Bing! IE was working again. I tweaked the <script> tag to make sure it was valid and tried again. IE failed once again. After a good deal more researching I found that while Firefox will let you have an empty script tag (i.e., <script src="scriptfile.js" type="text/javascript" />), IE won’t. IE requires you to have opening and closing tags for scripts (<script src="scriptfile.js" type="text/javascript"></script>). With that change made, IE miraculously loaded the main page. I then discovered that I had put the script tag numerous places, so I had to track each one down and remove it and put the script tag into the header template so it would only be included once. One bug down.

Now to get to what Tim actually e-mailed me about. He stated that when he tried to switch the Atom feed to the new URL, the feed broke. The only way he was able to get the feed to work was to put the IP address and port number instead of the domain name into URL. NetVibes required this change to work, but it worked as originally stated in Firefox. He theorized correctly that this had to do with how my dynamic DNS uses HTML frames to redirect HTTP requests, as previous described. Undoubtedly Firefox could work around that issue but NetVibes couldn’t. (And of course, I tested the feed through Firefox.) The obvious solution of using the IP instead of the domain is not a good one, of course, since I’ve already stated that I’m on a dynamic IP block, which would break all these links at my ISP’s whim. The best solution that I can think of to this problem is to use the domain but leave off the “www” and add the port. This would make the RSS 2.0 feed URL http://jeffdarlington.com:8081/?feed=rss2 and the Atom feed URL http://jeffdarlington.com:8081/?feed=atom. This still isn’t ideal, as I’m hoping to eventually rectify this whole DNS-forwarding, framing, port-forwarding mess and make it more normal, but it should work for now even if my ISP changes my IP. Of course, the old URLs should hopefully still work; the rewrite rules automatically forward to the new URL.

Next came commenting. Tim originally intended to add all this in a comment, but couldn’t find the link to register. Silly me apparently forgot to check the checkbox (which, in my defense, is rather tiny and buried deep in an options page) that allows people to register. I checked the box, updated the settings, and loaded up another browser to check the registration link. Unfortunately, I’ve now found out that WP sends you a temporary password via e-mail when you register. Being behind a dynamic IP makes sending server generated e-mail a hit-or-miss ordeal, as many spam filters and relay servers block dynamic IP blocks. I’ve already encountered this problem with the Store several times, and as yet don’t have a good workaround. I tried registering a comment login with a different e-mail address, but so far I haven’t received a response. There’s a good chance this e-mail verification will be the nail in the coffin for comments here, so I’m afraid I’ll have to disable them completely for the time being.

I’ll keep debugging and see what else crops up. Thanks everyone for your patience.

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