Dec 182008

About two days ago, my Google homepage suddenly became hostile toward me.  By hostile, I mean my IE7 browser is suddenly reporting a bunch of JavaScript errors and faults when loading the Google homepage that it wasn’t reporting before. 

Whenever I visit my Google homepage now, I have to wade through 5 or 6 JavaScript error notifications before I can do anything.  I suspect the culprit is the Gmail gadget for the Google homepage, as I continue to get script errors while trying to browse email in-situ on the homepage.  The gmail gadget is also missing scrollbars on long messages. None of these problems are present when using Gmail itself, just when using the Google homepage.

As a developer, I have to have script debugging enabled in my browser.  This enables me to debug my web app code in the browser, but it also has the unfortunate side effect of pointing out JavaScript errors on every site I visit.  It’s surprising how much crappy code is out there in production.  Slashdot has degraded into the pretty much unusable range in recent months, and now the Google homepage / Gmail widget is following suit.

The script errors are not specific to IE.  Firefox 3 also notes 5 critical errors in its error console when navigating to my Google homepage. To Firefox’s credit, recording these script errors in a log rather than with popup dialogs is much less intrusive than IE, but that also means that significant script errors can go unnoticed by developers testing their web apps with Firefox.

The errors are:

Error: _IG_AddCustomEventHandler is not a function
Source File:
Line: 43

Error: _IG_AddEventHandler is not a function
Source File:
Line: 4

Error: _IG_Json is undefined
Source File:
Line: 1

Error: _IG_Prefs._parseURL is not a function
Source File:
Line: 78

Error: _IFPC is undefined
Source File:
Line: 2

So, to whoever turned on the new code a few days ago for either the Google Homepage or the Gmail widget for the homepage:  Please review your code and fix the crappy script that you’re dumping on us.  Your developer bretheren thank you for a speedy resolution so that we may get back to debugging our apps instead of debugging yours.

  5 Responses to “Recent Google Homepage / GMail Widget Update Laced With Script Errors”

  1. Maybe it’s all part of their (do no) evil plan to get folks to switch to another browser. Running IE7 I recently noticed the new “Get faster Gmail” link at the top of Gmail that links to

    Their solution for running “twice as fast”? Use Firefox or Chrome. They acknowledge that IE8 is faster (but point out it’s a *beta* unlike Chrome’s surprising recent non-beta status).

    Maybe iGoogle will soon be sporting a “Get popup-free iGoogle” link… ;-)

  2. I’m also having problems since a few weeks. With no notification whatsoever the widget is suddenly updated.

    I noticed that, when using the compose email of the widget, some emails get dropped. Although it’s giving you a successfully send, the recipients do not receive them and the emails are not in my sent items, drafts or archived… Just gone. Very annoying. Luckily gmail still works :)

  3. As of this Friday morning, the script errors from the Google Homepage and/or GMail widget have been silenced!

    Thank you!

  4. “It’s surprising how much crappy code is out there in production.”

    Really? That doesn’t surprise me at all. I think you got spoiled by the quality level at BorPriseGear all those years. In my experience, Sturgeon’s Law is overly optimistic where code is concerned.

  5. “It’s surprising how much crappy code is out there in production.”

    What bothers me more is that apparently these people do not have Script debugging enabled for IE, which is by far the easiest and quickest way to check if your Javascript is valid. Shame on them.

    I am getting more and more annoyed by Slashdot, though — The errors have been there for months now, and no one has bothered to fix them.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.