brain sucking bugJust spent a couple of hours tracking down why readers of this blog using Internet Explorer were suddenly unable to access this site – and the culprit turned out to be my latest Firefox extension! Here’s the gory details for anyone with a WordPress blog and your readers start getting “Internet Explorer Cannot Open the Internet Site- Operation Aborted” errors when they try to open your site.
What’s happening is Bit.ly’s new cool Firefox extension is writing errant bits of JavaScript – JavaScript that will cause IE to fail – to the posts you’re writing behind your back while you’re working in WordPress.
Specifically, Bit.ly released two days ago a new Firefox extension that pops up the full URL of a URL shortened with any one of a number of popular URL shortener web apps like TinyURL.com, Bit.ly, etc. It also pops up on a Twitter page the short profile of any referred to user – @bobwalsh. That’s also very handy.
What’s not so good is if you are writing a post in WordPress (self-hosted, probably wordpress.com given it’s the same basic codebase) and you click the Save Draft button, the Bit.ly extension inserts into your post a line of JavaScript code:
script src=”http://s.bit.ly/bitlypreview.js” /script [brackets removed to prevent it being js.]
And this code in your post triggers this “problem behavior” that happens with all versions of IE except IE8 beta.
If you Save Post while writing in Visual Mode, you won’t see this code added because it’s code, not displayed text. If you Save Post while in HTML Mode, you will not see the code added, because wordpress after saving the draft automatically switches to Visual Mode.
An altogether nasty, nasty bug – and yes, I call writing out code without permission a bug.
So for now, the Bit.ly Firefox extension goes away – and I will be much less likely to install FF extensions no matter how shiny they are. Thanks Bit.ly!
Update: Here’s a video capture of the bug

10 Comments

  1. I noticed this the other day, wondered what was going on!
    Just assumed it was a temporary glitch.

  2. I love computers.
    I experienced that bug yesterday. No clue that it might have been your-site-specific. I was one of the people who saw a mucked-up JoS home page after his redesign; have trouble with my credit card site since I moved to Vista / IE 7 (and can’t even see the box to write to them about the problem).
    Chalked it up to my PC and hoped the problem would go away, or at least not show up on any other pages.
    Sigh.

  3. Bob Walsh Reply

    Scott – That only works on Windows; I use Mac for everything I’m not dragged – kicking and screaming, begging for mercy – over to one of my Vista boxes to work on.
    Martin – Good to know!
    Karen,
    Sounds like you’ve got the Bad IE rather than insidous invisible javascript error. If you Google “IE you’ll find plenty of links. My guess is IE on your box is misbehaving: you can try Firefox and see if the problem re JOS reproduces. If it doesn’t maybe these links will help:
    http://www.nirmaltv.com/2007/08/08/how-to-fix-internet-explorer-cannot-open-the-internet-site-operation-aborted-error/
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/04/23/what-happened-to-operation-aborted.aspx
    http://www.nirmaltv.com/2007/08/08/how-to-fix-internet-explorer-cannot-open-the-internet-site-operation-aborted-error/
    http://techie-buzz.com/tips-and-tricks/fix-internet-explorer-site-aborted-operation-cannot-dispay-page-error.html

  4. Bob Walsh Reply

    Andrew Kortina, Bit.ly’s programmer, posted a few hours ago this update:
    bit.ly Preview Plugin for Firefox Updates
    Today, we just added a few updates to the bit.ly Preview Plugin for Firefox. First, we fixed a bug that was causing the bit.ly Preview Plugin to load in rich text editors. (If you experienced problems on creating posts on WordPress after installing the plugin, please grab the newest version to fix this bug: http://bit.ly/bitlyFirefox ).
    Also, we added previews for Twitpic links. When you hover over a link to a Twitpic photo, you will now get a tooltip showing a thumbnail image.
    To get the latest version of the plugin, go to http://bit.ly/bitlyFirefox and install version 1.2. (Note, you must login to Mozilla to install the plugin as we’re still in beta. If you have a second, please leave a review / rating on our plugin page, appreciate the feedback.)

  5. I ran into the same problem while running bit.ly and using the ScribeFire blog editor for FF. Too bad, I love bit.ly and ScribeFire is great for quick posts or storing links for later to blog about but it doesn’t look like they can coexist right now.

  6. Yes, this is an amazingly nasty bug, and it took me at least four solid hours over two days to track down. I had to tear my blog’s templates apart to isolate it, and then manually edit every entry across three blogs to remove all the tags. I am incredibly upset about it, but perhaps a bit wiser – so I’ve got that going for me. Thanks for documenting it so I know I’m not crazy.

  7. Same shit here too with Blogger. Was surprised my traffic so low, thinking it was the christmas holidays ! Have to remove all the small javascript file from the last month posts.

  8. I had to deal with the same issue with a client of mine.
    The specific issue is that the bitlypreview.js script makes some calls that IE7 forbids. I have reported the issue with bit.ly, including the exact code for the fix, but nothing has happened yet.
    The problem is not with the bitly plugin, per-se. You just need to be VERY careful when you paste code into any editor. The trick that I use is to always copy and paste to a text editor (such as notepad), make sure there aren’t any tags, then copy from notepad to the blog.
    In geek-speak, pasting the tags directly into the blog post is a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) “attack”. Sometime you inadvertently do it to yourself…
    Here’s a writeup on my blog, an example of the problem, and how to fix it.
    http://www.rkrishardy.com/2009/05/operation-aborted-in-ie7/
    -Kris

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