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Message started by Rad on Oct 13th, 2009 at 6:32pm

Title: Display quirk on home page.
Post by Rad on Oct 13th, 2009 at 6:32pm
Several readers have mentioned display quirks on the home page. Some have even sent screen shots.

Until now, I've never seen it myself.

The 300x250 AdSense pops up to the left, as shown here:

http://radified.com/gfx7/radified_display_quirk.gif (120 KB)

Has anyone else seen this? (Today was my first.)

Right before this happened, I accidently hit the "Compatibility View" button in IE8.

I hit refresh once, but the problem remained. Then I hit refresh again and it returned to normal.

Title: Re: Display quirk on home page.
Post by Rad on Oct 14th, 2009 at 7:48am
From Nigel:

I've never seen the display quirk you mention, but I can suggest the reason; that particular form of Adsense block has to create a nested subframe, and to get the buttons that flip between the pages the sub-frame contains a set of positioned divs, and as part of that process the the loader script ends up having to determine the absolute position of the containing div, which it only really knows once the page has mostly rendered.

Figuring out this kind of thing is tricky cross-browser, and I'd bet there's some kind of timing quirk that will happen which is faking out one of the techniques the adsense loader is using to determine when the position of the containing div has settled - for instance, maybe it's the Paypal button image in the left nav-bar. That image is coming from the Paypal an https:// URL so it can take a long time to set up the https connection to a different domain just to get that picture, and the image form element doesn't - can't, in fact, since that's one of the many problems with "form type=image" elements - have a size on it so the height of the left bar ends up being indeterminate until that's fetched.

You won't see it again when you hit normal F5 refresh since IE will be using the cached data to get the page layout right pretty much straight away so you won't see the timing issues.

Now, I'm just guessing that those Paypal buttons are the cause, but it's one example of something on your page which will cause unpredictable rendering time for the page as a whole and can thus throw off scripts like AdSense which need to tie themselves into the final element placements. Those particular Paypal elements also can't be fixed easily since there are innate limitations to images-as-form-buttons in HTML.

You can either live with it or else make sure to serve up any elements like that which currently come off-domain your own domain instead (with nice long cache expiry times) and use http for them rather than https, so at least the load time for the image will be more predictably tied to the other page elements (assuming you really want to keep the graphical submit button rather than using a styled one like the YUI button controls).

- Nigel

Title: Re: Display quirk on home page.
Post by Rad on Oct 20th, 2009 at 9:43pm
fyi, this problem goes away soon as i click the 'compatibility view' button again in ie8/

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