Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

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LAR Grizzly
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Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by LAR Grizzly » 2022-12-08, 18:55

It seems as if the future of XUL browsers seems bleak. Recently, three of my commonly visited websites won't work in Pale Moon or SeaMonkey. I contacted the sites complaining about the problem. On one of them, "use Chrome" was the answer. Two of the sites don't have an error until you have logged in, then in subsequent pages after the login, both Pale Moon and SeaMonkey fail to display pages. This is not a complaint against Pale Moon or SeaMonkey, just an observation. I had to install the current Firefox to be able to conclude business. I'm sticking with Pale Moon for the long haul. The vast majority of sites I visit work fine. I feel we're slowly being forced into a Chrome browser world. :thumbdown:

Example Sites:

https://www.massmutualascend.com/ (fails after login) (works with Firefox) (contacted, said they'll work on it)
https://www.ssa.gov/ (fails after login) (works with Firefox) (contacted, I doubt they'll do anything)
https://www.puritan.com/ (site is a mess) (works with Firefox) (contacted, "use Chrome")
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Moonchild » 2022-12-08, 18:59

LAR Grizzly wrote:
2022-12-08, 18:55
https://www.puritan.com/ (site is a mess) (works with Firefox) (contacted, "use Chrome")
Had a quick look and the site is indeed a mess of just about all of the non-standard things we don't support (global events, specific code for IE 10 and IE 11 mixed in with Twitter bootstrap libs, a shit ton of analytics, web insights and app insights data to measure everything you do on the site, active content inside <button> elements, and overall an ungodly amount of inline scripts scattered everywhere in the header and body...) and laying out with only Chrome quirks in mind.

Barring a full redesign (which probably isn't all that difficult since the result of that mess is just your average store front site one could throw together with e.g. squarespace) but most likely not something they want to invest in) it is actually the only real solution for them :crazy:
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by LAR Grizzly » 2022-12-08, 19:13

Moonchild wrote:
2022-12-08, 18:59
Had a quick look and the site is indeed a mess of just about all of the non-standard things...
If I remember correctly, not sticking to web standards, has been an ongoing problem since the early days of Internet Explorer. Website developers love sloppy code and browsers that accept it. I don't see anything changing. Governments don't obey the laws they have, why should we expect web standards to be followed? Sad, but it's just a reality. :(
Moonchild wrote:
2022-12-08, 18:59
...it is actually the only real solution for them :crazy:
My solution to their site: https://www.swansonvitamins.com/ (works with Firefox...and Pale Moon)
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Moonchild » 2022-12-08, 19:38

And yes, if sites aren't listening to your feedback you can always vote with your wallet. Free and open market, after all.
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Lucio Chiappetti » 2022-12-08, 20:05

I am not so concerned with shopping sites (which I use rarely): if they don't work with Pale Moon, I will use a competitor, or buy in a physical shop. I am also not concerned with fancy, curiosity and social sites (which in general I do not use).
I am little concerned with specific sites (e.g. google meet) I may use for work, and are designed for chrome. I'll use chrome and my institutional google account (just for those).
I am concerned with government sites, utilities and so on. They should be "viewable wioth any browser" !
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. (G.B. Shaw)

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by LAR Grizzly » 2022-12-08, 20:18

Lucio Chiappetti wrote:
2022-12-08, 20:05
I am concerned with government sites, utilities and so on. They should be "viewable with any browser" !
I agree. I'm concerned about sites that I have to do business with, banking, finance, government, healthcare etc. What got me riled was, I just went through this with MassMutualAscend the other day. Today, when I went to check my Social Security account, I discovered their site change and wasn't able to login!
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Sob__ » 2022-12-09, 00:53

And it will be only worse. It's unrealistic to support all browsers, they will always have to draw the line somewhere, e.g. it's obvious that sites can't work even in all historic browsers. But those aside, you can perhaps say that it should be all maintained browsers, that probably sounds right. But what if, for any reason, some maintained browser doesn't support something that others do?

Let's say it's deliberate and authors decided to boycott something. Should webmasters and all other browsers just give up? The answer should be probably "no", otherwise it would be possible to halt all progress this way. It should be that browser's problem. Or maybe it's that some browser just lags behind and needs more time to implement things. Then it would be nice to wait for it. But for how long? Year, two, five, more? Surely, at some point, difference between the two (boycott / lag) vanishes, because it's the result that matters.

In the end, it all depends on who you are and what power you have. If Pale Moon doesn't implement something (Web Components, all new JavaScript stuff) fast enough, it's easy to throw it overboard, because it means losing at most 0,0x% visitors (even much less, most will come back with another browser), no big deal. But if Chrome decides to boycott something (JPEG-XL), there's no way webmasters are throwing Chrome overboard. Quite the opposite, most will simply not use JPEG-XL at all, because they would have to create another/modified Chrome-compatible website anyway, so it's easier to create only that one and it will work for others too.

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Michaell » 2022-12-09, 02:36

Most of the sites I use regularly are working well in PM. The Palefill extension helps with a few. For government sites I've mostly accepted using either Ungoogled Chromium (which does have content blockers installed) or a lot of times I go straight to old Edge without any blocking (none avail AFAIK). I hate resorting to Edge and only do it when needed. I've learned not to expect any better from govt. I particularly dislike when they use google services or code as necessary 3rd party connections - why do I need google in my business with the govt?
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by andyprough » 2022-12-09, 03:00

For paying government taxes and fees, the real hack is to pay by check via snail mail. Usually you get credit for paying on the date your envelope is postmarked, even though it doesn't arrive via the super slow postal service for 4-5 business days and the government offices still won't get around to cashing your check for another 3-4 days. That's an additional 7-9 days the money can sit in your account (maybe drawing a small amount of interest) compared to paying through their nasty, insecure, frequently exploited payment sites. Even if you don't get credit for the postmarked date, you'll still keep your money for the extra 3-4 days while the government workers sit on their rear ends instead of cashing your check. And you'll avoid having a username and password exploited the next time they fall for a phishing scam.

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by LAR Grizzly » 2022-12-09, 04:30

Michaell wrote:
2022-12-09, 02:36
why do I need google in my business with the govt?
Because they're one-in-the-same.
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Michaell » 2022-12-09, 14:14

andyprough wrote:
2022-12-09, 03:00
For paying government taxes and fees, the real hack is to pay by check via snail mail.
Yea, checks are OK for govt. I guess, but I've started using money orders again for businesses. I don't think most people know there is now a version of e-check that does not require a scanned copy of an actual check, and thus no signature needed. All they need is the routing/account number and other info printed on the check. So once you send a check you have given that payee all they need to take more money out of your checking account. Most won't do that, but beware. With a money order, there is no account for them to access.

I avoid buying from most sites that use 3rd party payment systems; there are none that I trust (gave up PayPal after 25 years). They all have lots of extra connections and no idea what info they're trading. There is a government one (can't recall the name) that I still allow. And I still buy from Amazon using Pale Moon (happy it still works there). Other sites I will use their shopping cart to put together the order but print it and mail it with the money order. So I still use Pale Moon everywhere possible for ordering except for the actual payment.
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Moonchild » 2022-12-09, 16:30

Sob__ wrote:
2022-12-09, 00:53
And it will be only worse. It's unrealistic to support all browsers, they will always have to draw the line somewhere, e.g. it's obvious that sites can't work even in all historic browsers. But those aside, you can perhaps say that it should be all maintained browsers, that probably sounds right. But what if, for any reason, some maintained browser doesn't support something that others do?
Making sure that something works in all maintained browsers (excluding browsers that are for a specialist purpose, of course) is something a lot of websites have always done in the past. It's only with the upmarch of Chrome and various frameworks (some flat-out created and pushed by Google) that that has been thrown to the wind.

The funny thing is that targeting Pale Moon as a maintained browser actually makes a hell of a lot of sense, paradoxical as it may sound at first. Why? You're pretty much guaranteed that if a site works in Pale Moon, it will work in all maintained browsers out there, including all mainstream "big boys".
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Sob__ » 2022-12-09, 20:28

You're correct, paying attention to "all" browsers was common, pretty much mandatory. But it was different when each of them had significant market share. Nobody could afford to lose (or just annoy too much) that many visitors. Now when it's almost all Chrome and clones, plus Firefox and Safari that mostly manage to keep up, it turns out that ignoring the rest is no big deal, it's just few people who are already used to it. Sad but true.

And targetting Pale Moon, I'm affraid it doesn't make that much sense. Yes, it would work. But why? If you target "big boys", you can use all the new exciting stuff (not necessarily my opinion) to do so, and you'll make almost everyone happy, because almost everyone uses them. Or you can target Pale Moon, not be able to use everything you may want to, and make only few more people happy. Is it worth it? Clearly not for everyone. Doesn't make me happy, but that's how it is.

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Moonchild » 2022-12-09, 22:33

Sob__ wrote:
2022-12-09, 20:28
you can use all the new exciting stuff (not necessarily my opinion) to do so, and you'll make almost everyone happy, because almost everyone uses them.
That's just not true. In my daily use of Pale Moon, I hardly ever find sites that don't work. And the problem with "all the new exciting stuff" is that it is part of what Google has pushed into an obscenely large and complex set of "standards" most of which were written by Google editors. On top, most of the new exciting stuff was described from an implementation-first perspective, i.e. describing the way Chromium acts. There's a reason Chromium's stability has started to falter. There's a reason it takes literally hours to compile Chrome. That reason is the kitchen sink fallacy: piling on ever more corner-case APIs, gadgeteering and interfaces to hardware to stave off the fear of having competition. It results in bloated code that is so complex one has to adopt a policy of WORM (Write Once Read Many) to not have the jenga tower collapse due to broken dependencies. Have you ever tried to suggest to Google that they adhere to a standard that is actually mismatched with their implementation? I have. And inevitably it's either actively opposed or just not addressed until the spec is changed to "describe browser reality", in an addendum or simply by superseding the standard with a new one that happens to perfectly align with Google.
Is it worth resisting the constant erosion of programming paradigms that is being pushed into ECMA? Absolutely. Whether I will get anywhere with that, I don't know. I think it would have been a different world if the pending anti-trust case hadn't been postponed for years, as well. Maybe XUL browsers will lose their purpose as a general-use browser over time, if this keeps up and keeps being pushed to more change for the sake of change, often reasoned for by some abstract concept of "performance" (that is even flawed in my opinion as well -- compare "modern" websites' speed against those that do not adhere to "using the new exciting stuff"; which ones load and work faster?). Maybe that can be called a "sad state of affairs". But we're certainly not there.

In fact, the most issues we're currently having is due to frameworks being in use that abstract website and "web app" design, a lot of them transpilers where nobody is actually writing or targeting the "new and exciting things" directly except the framework devs. So it really becomes a matter of who is holding the keys here. The reason webmasters are often reluctant to target anything but "only the last version" of Blink and Gecko based browsers is not because they are actively doing web design that requires it, but rather because the abstraction layer they are using is enforcing it. I can trace this back to when JQuery started doing this and it's become a de facto standard practice. Of course with the practice of outsourcing, a lot of companies don't even have the expertise in house to make simple changes like that and I absolutely understand the business approach that Pale Moon would be a small loss of potential consumers. But at the same time, targeting it would retain those consumers and retain everyone else, too. That should be a no-brainer for anyone running a business as it's a net win.
So is it worth being a bit more conservative in how you configure your framework to spit out just-as-performant code that literally works on everything? I think so.

So, I'm not going to be defeatist about this. You can disagree with me, and that's fine.
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Sob__ » 2022-12-10, 00:20

I don't disagree, I'm just pessimist. ;) In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with some parts. It hurts to watch "modern" sites that are much more demanding than old ones, with no actual improvement over them. So what's the point? That's not progress. And it's spreading. It may not be too fast, but it does. Similar with (non-)functionality, most sites I use do work so far, but number of those breaking because they use some new feature (either themselves or as part of some "oh so cool, must have" framework) is rising. And they don't care, because who really can not use another (supported) browser? Almost nobody.

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by BenFenner » 2022-12-10, 01:06

Moonchild wrote:
2022-12-09, 16:30
The funny thing is that targeting Pale Moon as a maintained browser actually makes a hell of a lot of sense, paradoxical as it may sound at first. Why? You're pretty much guaranteed that if a site works in Pale Moon, it will work in all maintained browsers out there, including all mainstream "big boys".
I wrote exactly as much 10 days ago: https://github.com/webmin/webmin/issues ... 1332121580

As a web developer, targeting Pale Moon makes all the sense in the world. Why would I target anything else?
Sob__ wrote:
2022-12-09, 20:28
Or you can target Pale Moon, not be able to use everything you may want to, and make only few more people happy.
You'd be surprised how many people don't care one iota about your new shiny web-dev widget. They just want your site to load quickly and work properly. I wager 99.999% of sites out there don't need the new shiny malarkey.

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by Sob__ » 2022-12-11, 17:52

Don't get me wrong, it's not *my* shiny things. As a user, I want technically simple web that loads, renders and works fast. I hate all the bloated modern mostrosities that load ten megabytes of javascript that then dynamically assembles page code in browser, constantly recomputes everything, etc., making everything horribly slow. And as a (mostly former) web developer, I know that it doesn't have to be that bad. Everything I create now and then is light and Pale Moon friendly.

On the other hand, can I really blame others for not doing the same? I'm not sure. Random example, a site I'm involved with, but most development is done by others, is also Pale Moon friendly. But it's entirely by accident, I'm pretty sure that half of my colleagues never even heard about Pale Moon. When I check logs, we do have visits using Pale Moon. But from ~10k daily visitors it's only me and nobody else. If someone wanted to use some "latest and greatest" stuff for development, because they'd think it helps them in any way, I don't think I have any convincing argument why they shouldn't. I'd be the single troublemaker who refuses to use "normal" browser and makes their life difficult.

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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by somdcomputerguy » 2022-12-11, 18:36

A post that shouldn't throw this thread too far off rail.. Viewable with Any Browser: Campaign
:cool: -bruce /* somdcomputerguy.com */
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Re: Sad state of Affairs for XUL browsers (rant)

Unread post by LAR Grizzly » 2023-01-03, 17:11

More fun! It's a good thing that I'm retired. I have all day to sort through browsers that actually work on these new websites!

Last year, my healthcare website didn't work with Pale Moon, no matter what I tried, it always failed after login, with a blank page. So, I finally had to give up and use Firefox.

https://www.medicare.uhc.com/aarp

Yesterday, I tried to login to view my 2023 benefits. Firefox kept blocking my my login with an error saying United Healthcare couldn't find my account. I fussed with it for some time before I called UHC for assistance. The assistant was unable to login for me using Firefox as well. She suggested that I try another browser. For kicks and giggles, I tried Pale Moon. Pale Moon logged in without a hitch! So now, Firefox doesn't work and Pale Moon does! I wonder what will happen in the days ahead. :crazy:

I wonder how many browsers are necessary to successfully do business on the web? I think I'll start drinking! Can anyone suggest a stiff drink that will calm my nerves? Coffee is no longer working for me! :coffee:
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