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.