Coffeehouse Thread

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"Good morning Mr. Opera, I mean, Mr. IE"

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  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    So I just bought another book today, discussing DOM programming and other great nothings. As I'm running along, I learn that Opera apparently identifies itself as "MSIE", to get past some of those "Our page is only for MSIE, you can't play here" websites that are becoming more and more prevalent...Did anybody else know about this?

    Apparently Opera even has a feature (F12), which allows the user to switch Opera from the Identity "MSIE", to it's true identity of "Opera". This is allegedly why Opera doesn't show up too high on statistical records, and may contribute - a little - to MSIE popularity on Stat records.

    I have one question, IS THIS EVEN LEGAL?

  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    Opera 8 doesn't default to IE's user agent, it sends "Opera/8.51 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en)".  It does has a setting that can be changed to make it show up as Mozilla or IE.

    I don't have Opera 9, so I can't tell you if this is still the default behavior (although I doubt it has changed--  sending an IE useragent can result in unusable pages in some cases because sites will send IE-specific JScript.  See Outlook Web Access.)

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    So you can legally identify your softare as somebody elses? Aren't those names trademarked or anything? I might aswell write some malware and call it nortonupdates.exe Smiley

  • User profile image
    CyberGeek

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    So you can legally identify your softare as somebody elses?


    At least as far as browser user strings are concerned, yup. It's interesting to note that IE's user agent string includes the word Mozilla, so it's not exactly an uncommon thing to do.

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    CyberGeek wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:So you can legally identify your softare as somebody elses?


    At least as far as browser user strings are concerned, yup. It's interesting to note that IE's user agent string includes the word Mozilla, so it's not exactly an uncommon thing to do.


    I can't believe that MS hasn't gotten their panties in a bundle....I mean, I thought they were trying to knock out the competition by developing MSIE-specific technologies which require/suggest the user be using MSIE browsers...and now their competition just identifies themselves as "MSIE" to sidestep it...but I guess if MSIE is doing it too...oh well.

    Weird that I never heard of this before, and that it hasn't resulted in big legal battles.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    You make a huge thing out of... nothing Smiley

    IE always had Mozilla in the UA string, even before the Mozilla project (that's because Netscape's codename many years ago was Mozilla) so it would work on websites coded specifically for Netscape.

    It's perfectly legal. Smiley

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    PaoloM wrote:
    You make a huge thing out of... nothing

    IE always had Mozilla in the UA string, even before the Mozilla project (that's because Netscape's codename many years ago was Mozilla) so it would work on websites coded specifically for Netscape.

    It's perfectly legal.


    Sorry Paolo, not trying to make too big of a deal over it - it just blows my mind that all of the corporations out there "OK" this type of behavior Smiley It blows my mind, as if it's deceitful in a way - I mean, what is the point of developing all of these Microsoft-specific technologies if you just let your competition parade around with your badge on? Just blows my mind Smiley

  • User profile image
    TimP

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    It blows my mind, as if it's deceitful in a way - I mean, what is the point of developing all of these Microsoft-specific technologies if you just let your competition parade around with your badge on? Just blows my mind


    It's not something to be proud of. In an ideal world Microsoft would not be developing "Microsoft-specific" technologies. On the Windows client side, they can do whatever they want, but don't break the web for everyone.

    Also, in an ideal world the user agent shouldn't matter because the web site should display fine in all browsers and not display different content based on the UA.

  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    PaoloM wrote: You make a huge thing out of... nothing

    IE always had Mozilla in the UA string, even before the Mozilla project (that's because Netscape's codename many years ago was Mozilla) so it would work on websites coded specifically for Netscape.

    It's perfectly legal.


    Sorry Paolo, not trying to make too big of a deal over it - it just blows my mind that all of the corporations out there "OK" this type of behavior It blows my mind, as if it's deceitful in a way - I mean, what is the point of developing all of these Microsoft-specific technologies if you just let your competition parade around with your badge on? Just blows my mind


    It's not even that they're neccessarily using Microsoft-specific technologies.  The only reason for user-agent switching is because some poorly coded sites demand IE, even though all the other browsers can view them just fine.  Opera and Mozilla don't magically start supporting IE's CSS extensions or ActiveX or anything else--  they just need to trick websites into thinking that they're IE to reach their content.

  • User profile image
    Ang3lFir3

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    .....I mean, I thought they were trying to knock out the competition by developing MSIE-specific technologies which require/suggest the user be using MSIE browsers...


    exactly.....because the scripts that power atlas aren't cross browser compliant.... including the webpartManager which makes webparts work in FF and others.....

    </sarcasm>

    someone really messed you up in your thinking.... just cuz there have been some blunders along the way doesn't mean msft was trying to knock out competition (tho don't forget without MS there would never have been AJAX.... since it was after all MSFT who developed XHR)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMLHTTPRequest



  • User profile image
    The J

    By default Opera 9 will identify itself as Opera. You can change it to mask itself as IE or Mozilla on a site-by-site basis. I've found that it doesn't exactly make pages better, though. I set Opera to mask IE on this site once. I was able to get the full, nice message reply interface (Opera just gives you a blank box, and you can't even do line breaks!), but the browser locked out as soon as I tried to type up a reply since I guess Opera doesn't support rich-text editing (or something like that).

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    Opera 9 is the first version that does support rich-text editing. And as a reply to the original post: Opera has to do this, because a lot of webmasters only design their pages to work in IE and a lot of those even check (via Javascript, or server-side) if the user is using IE.

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    Why would it really matter?  If I write software, a simple little string like this isn't all that important.  The server might think that I am someone else, and give me different content, but no big deal.

  • User profile image
    Another_​Darren

    Anyone else think it's interesting that jsampsonPC who quote "after several years of PHP" only just found this out?  Or only just started learning the DOM!

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    One advantage is that when Opera identifies itself as IE, it still has the word "Opera" at the end of the query string, so moderately intelligent browser recognition code can still tell the difference.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    In previous versions of Opera you could only 'Identify as MSIE', in which case the user agent string still contained the word 'Opera'. Opera 9 has an additional option to 'Mask as MSIE', in which case the user agent is not distinguishable from a valid MSIE user agent string.

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    Another_Darren wrote:
    Anyone else think it's interesting that jsampsonPC who quote "after several years of PHP" only just found this out?  Or only just started learning the DOM!



    Ugh, yeah... several years of PHP and I didn't know that Opera identified itself as MSIE at one time. So?

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    jaylittle wrote:
    
    Another_Darren wrote:Anyone else think it's interesting that jsampsonPC who quote "after several years of PHP" only just found this out?  Or only just started learning the DOM!


    jsampsonPC is quickly turning into the village idiot from what I've seen.  You've got to wonder how he didn't know this though... I was under the impression that at least among the web development community, this was common knowledge.

    And no it isn't illegal.  But that comment jsampsonPC did give me a good chuckle.

    Thanks for that.



    Village idiot? Why do you say that? Or do you just consider anybody who tries their hand at a new set of technologies an idiot? Sure, I'm an idiot when it comes to ASP.NET - It's true, I am an idiot in that area, nothing to hid there. But give me a few more working months, and a little more experience time, and I will no longer be an idiot in that area. Rest assured.

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