Like an ampersand without a semicolon

I’ve always been a bit annoyed by the way that Internet Explorer thinks that the ampersand character followed by some letters is an HTML entity, rather than just an invalid character followed by some letters, since some people who only use IE end up filling their pages with &nbsp, which displays non-breaking spaces for them, and exactly &nbsp for me, but I didn’t realize just how bad it could be. Through a path I don’t quite understand,

Cheah Chu Yeow ended up with a bit of Javascript where IE tried to open a URL that included a query string with &reg_id=12345 as ®_id=12345. Ouch.

(Found via my sometimes-annoying, sometimes delightful subscription to an RSS feed of search results for “Firebird” from Feedster, thanks to “mostly tested the site in Mozilla Firebird 0.6” – heh.)


Comment by Scott Johnson #
2003-07-30 04:33:10

Hm… Phil is the Feed annoying because of something we do wrong or just the nature of random content?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-07-30 09:31:42

Well, I’m not sure, and that (along with the fun of trolling you – Hi Scott!) was actually why I threw that in at the last minute, to end up with exactly this situation, where I feel guilty enough about insulting your baby to actually (try to) fit in some time to look at it. I’ve got two feeds, ”Firebird” and ”Mozilla”, which results in rather a lot of inevitable overlap from ”Mozilla Firebird” (what I really need is a double-size ”Mozilla OR Firebird” feed), but also ends up with things like the same item multiple times, and some items recognized as old, but other items appearing as new multiple times.

The random content thing is actually pretty amusing, getting entries about someone’s classic car, or the open source database, and the entries that are all in Cyrillic except for the word Firebird always please me. I just want to only see them once, or twice for Mozilla Firebird, and I need to stop being so lazy about looking at what makes one entry recognizably old and another seem new several times.

Comment by Cheah Chu Yeow #
2003-07-30 08:07:09

Well I guess I didn’t make too much sense explaining how I got that to occur :D

Anyway, was this a annoying or delightful occasion? ;)

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-07-30 09:22:55

Delightful: I laughed out loud at the idea of IE actually sticking a ® into a URL. I’m sure it was scream-and-throw-things annoying to have it happen to you, but it makes a great war story.

Comment by Scott Johnson #
2003-07-31 07:07:38

So phil — a search for using an OR operator doesn’t do this correctly in your opinion?

And I’ll be the 1st to admit that baiting me is fun. Heck I do it to myself sometimes.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-07-31 08:15:31

OR does just what it should for most uses: chevy OR chevrolet gives n results with either or both. But I’m greedy, I am, and I want 2n results: n Firebird, and (thanks for making me think boolean) n Mozilla NOT Firebird. Adding the NOT Firebird will improve my cross-feed dups a whole lot, so I just need to figure out what’s going on with the items that aren’t recognized as being old. The one I looked at last night from lacks an item pubDate, which I’ll bet is going to prove to be at the root of it. Are you adding a ”now” pubDate, or maybe a ”when I saw it” and you aren’t recognizing that you’ve seen it before? And is Luke doing something a bit odd in his item recognition algo? Looks like you do <guid>s on everything, so he shouldn’t be seeing two copies of the same item as different even if every other field is completely changed. Piss and damn, I’m going to have to set up a cron job to archive copies of the feed and subscribe to that, so I can look back at the actual items when I get one duped, to see what’s up. Teach me to keep my big mouth shut. I’ll do it this weekend, and ping you when I figure it out.

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