Home > Standards > Walmart didn't test their new video download website in Firefox – how ignorant can their developers be?

Walmart didn't test their new video download website in Firefox – how ignorant can their developers be?

February 12, 2007

I’m sure by now most of you have heard of the Walmart debacle. They released a new website for video downloads last week. It worked fine in Internet Explorer (IE) and Opera, and here’s the big “but” – it completely failed to work in Firefox. The page looked absolutely worse than horrible when I loaded it in Firefox.

As an Opera user I was appalled by their ignorance. Forget about web standards for a moment or the idea of testing in browsers other than IE. Don’t their web developers know that Firefox has a market share of around 15%? Are they not aware that by not supporting Firefox, they’re telling “no” to more than 100 million potential customers?

How stupid can Walmart be?

Now, I’m not sure about the specifics of the case, but it seems to be a classic example of ignorant, Microsoft-centric developer team leaders and managers who think they know the state of the web. If you’re a developer on a team, you most likely know what I mean.

As users of non-IE browsers we should stand up to Walmart and others that block alternative browsers. It’s time that they recognize us. We need to constantly push them to make sure their sites work correctly in Safari, Opera, and Firefox – no matter which of the alternative browsers you use. No longer should they be allowed to lock out more than 200 million users of alternative browsers.

In the past year we have come a long way in support for alternative browsers by heavily promoting web standards (to both browser venders and developers). As users, our message should be loud and clear “There shouldn’t be multiple webs depending on which browser or platform you use. Follow web standards and your site should work on the “web” – wherever the “web” may be. There is only one web.”

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Categories: Standards
  1. February 12, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Let me correct you: it works with Opera only if you mask yourself as IE in the site preferences (but there will be some display bugs), or you will have this « Unsupported Browser » message, asking ouselves to download IE (for free!).

    It’s clear that now Firefox has grown, prevent its users from accessing a site can be considered as an attempt of self-sabotage. I have no idea of why they do that – but it shows that web standards didn’t spread in far away and dark places of the web.

  2. February 12, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Romain, when the new service was launched, Opera worked fine. It was only after all the fuss last week, that Walmart blocked Opera too.

    Web standards did grow, just not everywhere. We have definitely seen a change.

  3. February 12, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I have heard about this before, but I was definitly surprised when you said that Opera had worked on the website. I thought it was something akin to blocking anything non-IE based, as it would cost too much for them to implement support other browsers, but specifically and delibritly targetting Safari and Firefox is clearly crossing the line.

    It seems to me that MS must be throwing their weight around here, trying to convince people that because their alternative browser doesn’t work with Wal-Mart, it’s because they’re inferior to IE.

  4. February 12, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Michael Baptista, I think Microsoft has changed their attitude about browser compatiblity. Now with IE7 and the issues their facing on some sites, they’re calling for a better web.

  5. Zee
    February 12, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Well said, Daniel!

  6. February 12, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    In a similar vein, I was a little un-happy with ebay.co.uk for their new policy on browser support “***eBay Browser Support Changes ***” 13 Nov. 2006:

    http://www2.ebay.com/aw/uk/200611.shtml#2006-11-13162450

    “eBay is currently not supporting advanced functionality on the Opera browser.”

    They do not even have a recommended browser for Linux!!!

    As part of a community, The Internet, we should welcome all, and not cherry pick. Further, limiting browsers limits inovation.

    e-bay never replied to my e-mail on this subject.

  7. Jgreen
    February 12, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    This service, so far, is horrible! The help files on the site are misguiding when it comes to how you play your files on Xbox360, and on how to back up your movies to DVD/CD. I called their so-called customer support line only to be told, “sorry, but we are in beta still…”. This is just another pathetic excuse at how large companies can rip people off and get away with providing bad service. Now I have paid for a movie that I can’t watch on my TV via Xbox360, and can’t back up to disc. Guess I should be happy getting told, “sorry”…I’ll never use walmart again. I’m sure by now they have removed the misleading information I speak of, since I made them aware of it Sunday night.

  8. February 12, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Tin Foil Hat on…

    Hmmm, you know that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (large share holder of Walmart) are good buddies and bridge partners, right?

  9. Kc4
    February 12, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    EVEN MICRSOFT APPEARS TO HAVE STOPPED DELIBERATE CRIPPLING!!!!

    But in any case anyone using Wal-Mart is suspicious

  10. Ryan
    February 12, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    But the low prices!!! (I have to admit I do use their download service for music. They are like a(n) (un)necessary evil. 😛 )

  11. Stahn
    February 13, 2007 at 5:21 am

    And since when Firefox is a Web Standards browser?

    Opera is the one that passes the Acid2 test, you know.

  12. Shaun
    February 13, 2007 at 9:37 am

    If you’re smart enough to be using firefox instead of IE I’m guessing you’re smart enough not to shop at Walmart.

  13. doc0tis
    February 13, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    @Shaun
    I was just about to say the exact same thing.

    –doc0tis

  14. February 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    @Stahn:

    And since when Firefox is a Web Standards browser?

    Opera is the one that passes the Acid2 test, you know.

    Since when is Acid2 a standards-compliance test? From the test description:

    Acid2 tests features that web designers have been requesting. Everything that Acid2 tests is specified in a Web standard, but not all Web standards are tested. Acid2 does not guarantee conformance with any specification. (emphasis added)

    Acid2 tests the corners. It’s possible to get the corners, but miss a few spots in the middle. And no browser has reached 100% yet.

    Firefox has quite good support for standards, because that was a design goal when Mozilla began working on the Gecko rendering engine nearly a decade ago. Additionally, Mozilla’s developer resources recommend using standards-based techniques rather than relying on proprietary features.

    This standards support summary shows Firefox 2 and Opera 9 both well ahead of IE7 and IE6 in standards support, with Opera being ahead in some areas and Firefox in others.

    If you think Firefox isn’t a standards-based browser, you haven’t been paying attention.

  15. February 13, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Stop spreading lies. Firefox does not fully support standards, not even close. The Acid2 test clearly ONLY tests standards, therefore if Firefox fails it, Firefox clearly does not support the standards the test tests. Get the facts and stop whinning. Firefox doesn’t work with many pages: http://www.FirefoxMyths.com

  16. February 13, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    “If you’re smart enough to be using firefox instead of IE I’m guessing you’re smart enough not to shop at Walmart.”

    Comments like these make me wonder how “Smart” fanboys really are.

  17. February 13, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    @Andrew: Stop putting words in people’s mouths. No one here said Firefox “fully supported” standards, only that it does a good job with standards, comparable to Opera. You yourself link to the same statistics I linked to, though as I recall you made some “creative” interpretations of them when you first launched your site.

  18. February 14, 2007 at 8:02 am

    The question is what would it have taken to make walmart’s offering compliant with all the 3 browsers namely IE, firefox and opera ?

    Would it have taken a lot of work ?

  19. Klokan
    February 14, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Visiting http://www.walmart.com/ with Opera (Merlin) and with K-meleon (Gecko) all seems to be OK here.

    BTW: If some pages can´t be displayed correctly in Firefox this can be the point for switch to any better browser! The very same argument was presented widely by hardcore Firefox fans in the past for switch from Opera to their opensource crap…

    I think You should not waste your time fighting for Firefox. Don´t care about Firefox as they (FF users) don´t care about Opera. We should write our pages to be standard compliant and test it with Opera …and IE 😦

  20. February 14, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Klokan, the problem isn’t with their homepage, it’s with the video download site.

  21. sc
    February 14, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I thought this service was only offered in the USA, in which case the number of potential users they’re telling “no” to is much smaller than 100 million mentioned in the post.

  22. sc
    February 14, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Actually, the number must be higher if they exclude everyone who’s not in the US, but that’s not what I meant. :p

  23. February 15, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    If you think Firefox isn’t a standards-based browser, you haven’t been paying attention

    Sorry but this statement is false and misleading implying Firefox fully supports standards. Ridiculous misleading statements like this can be used for any browser this way.

    You yourself link to the same statistics I linked to, though as I recall you made some “creative” interpretations of them when you first launched your site.

    Creative as in posting exact figures off the site? Ooops the figures on that site have changed so much in the last year who knows what they used to say.

  24. February 15, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Now there’s irony. The author of the Firefox Myths website is complaining about false and misleading statements.

    I don’t see the logic that equates “X is standards-based” with “X fully supports 100% of every standard.” As for creative interpretation, I suppose you’ve forgotten claiming that IE supports XHTML better than Gecko.

    I understand we’re all Opera fans here, but that doesn’t have to mean believing only negative claims about Firefox. Anyone reading that site should keep dihydrogen monoxide warnings in mind, and take its statements with a grain of salt.

  25. February 18, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    A quick validation check reveals 256 errors on the page (After I spoof my user agent) — to those who hate Firefox and say it does not comply… I say it does pretty good at trying to make sense of malformed code written for IE only.
    Wal-Mart: get a clue!

    maybe these people are also to blame:
    http://www.omniture.com

    (for the poorly written code)

  26. February 19, 2007 at 11:19 am

    I don’t see the logic that equates “X is standards-based” with “X fully supports 100% of every standard.” As for creative interpretation, I suppose you’ve forgotten claiming that IE supports XHTML better than Gecko.

    Of course you wouldn’t. WTF does “standards-based” mean? They only do something if it supports a standard? Really then why does it not fully support W3C Standards? Your comments are incredibly misleading, especially coming from a Linux user. That statement implies Firefox full supports standards. It doesn’t, not even close. It doesn’t make any sense outside of misleading people.

    Yes please don’t go to http://www.FirefoxMyths.com unless you are afraid of the truth and facts.

    Any true Opera fan would not link to smear sites about FirefoxMyths or make the ridiculous accusations that you do. They would read the site and the sources and make up their own minds. I am begining to wonder the true motives behind this site and it is becomming all the more clear.

  27. February 21, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    So, Andrew, you’re saying Opera isn’t a standards-based browser, either?

  28. February 21, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Nope. It like Firefox attempts to meet certain W3C standards but they surely implement things without it being “standards-based”. Attempts and being standards compliant are two different things. No browser is “standards-based”.

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