Google Chrome with perspective

I can hardly believe that it’s almost a year I started to use Google Chrome browser! While I still use it at home I decided to switch back to Firefox at work – for a simple reason. Chrome is very stubborn when accessing https sites without proper certificate. We have a few on our corporate intranet and while I can simply accept any certificate forever with Firefox, it’s not so easy with Chrome. I’ve found some blog posts how to import certificate permanently in Windows, but somehow I failed to do so (maybe I messed up, maybe something else is wrong). I like to tweak things, but sometimes I’m just lazy to fix things that should be easy. That are easy somewhere else with something else. Like Firefox in this case.

I still use Google Chrome at home though, but I’m closer and closer to abandon it there as well. Do you use Google Docs? I do. When I open the document (I write now), I click on its title, little dialog box appears with the label “Enter new document name:” and the input box with the title of the document. It seems to be selected, so CTRL+C, go somewhere else, CTRL+V and guess what appears: “Enter new document name:” Hm, strange… I go there again, I select few characters from the title, copy/paste… again, the same result. I found out when I wanted to copy title to the WordPress. But I clearly remember it to work! But yeh, wait… in which browser? In Firefox it works like a charm. Well not a charm actually, it simply works like it SHOULD in the first place.

Last problem I have with Google Chrome is more technical and is related to Google Web Toolkit we started to use. Biggest trouble here is that I probably have to tackle this one but so far I’m stuck without any idea. If you’re not a programmer, stop reading and consider the article finished. If you are…

GWT compiles Java code to JavaScript which means you can write an application in Java (Google’s special libs) and then run it in the browser as a nice rich application with AJAX support and much more. You can load the resulting JavaScript on the HTML page and it works somehow. Now I wanted to generate HTML page with JSF/Facelets and power the server-side with JBoss Seam. Resulting HTML page is exactly the same, HTTP response headers are a bit different, but nothing serious. The application works fine in Firefox, IE, anything… except Google Chrome where it throws funny exception:

Uncaught TypeError: Object #<a Document> has no method 'write'

The script with the problem is generated and this particular part is some service stuff – not the result of my Java code. Problem is on the third line here:

function computeScriptBase(){
var thisScript, markerId = $intern_8, markerScript;
$doc.write($intern_9 + markerId + $intern_10);

Now how can anyone starting with GWT probably resolve this? Honestly I have no idea what is happening there and why it works fine in anything but Google Chrome. Now I hosted the SAME script in plain HTML, I ran telnet to my application server and this is how it looks (uff, now I had a problem to copy/paste this as well as it removed all my new lines from a plain text – in Chrome, so I’m now finishing it in Firefox :-)):

$ telnet xxx 8080
Trying xxx...
Connected to xxx.
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /comasutra/main.seam?cms HTTP/1.1
Host: xxx:8080

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
X-Powered-By: Servlet 2.5; JBoss-5.0/JBossWeb-2.1
Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=8727F8532EA49A8FAB7E967245D5F27C; Path=/comasutra
X-Powered-By: JSF/1.2
Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
Content-Length: 823
Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 13:39:07 GMT

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd" >
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<meta name="gwt:property" content="locale=sk" />
<title>Comasutra</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css" media="screen" />
<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="cms/cms.nocache.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<iframe src="javascript:''" id="__gwt_historyFrame" tabIndex="-1" style="position:absolute;width:0;height:0;border:0"></iframe>
<div class="top">
</div>
<div class="main">
<h1>Main page</h1>
<div>
<h2>Articles</h2>
<div id="cms-c1" class="article-list"></div>
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

GET /comasutra/bubu.html?cms HTTP/1.1
Host: xxx:8080

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
X-Powered-By: Servlet 2.5; JBoss-5.0/JBossWeb-2.1
Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=650F5FDDED9EC66D0C810B6C2D69B1CC; Path=/comasutra
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: W/"823-1249478709000"
Last-Modified: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 13:25:09 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 823
Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 13:48:29 GMT

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd" >
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<meta name="gwt:property" content="locale=en" />
<title>Comasutra</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css" media="screen" />
<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="cms/cms.nocache.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<iframe src="javascript:''" id="__gwt_historyFrame" tabIndex="-1" style="position:absolute;width:0;height:0;border:0"></iframe>
<div class="top">
</div>
<div class="main">
<h1>Main page</h1>
<div>
<h2>Articles</h2>
<div id="cms-c1" class="article-list"></div>
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>
Connection to xxx closed by foreign host.

Just to be complete: We use JBoss Seam 2.2.0.CR1, JBoss AS 5.1.0.GA, GWT 1.7, Windows XP SP 3, Google Chrome 2.0.172.39.

Obviously, the first GET request is JSF/Seam one, the other one uses plain HTML. HTMLs are exactly the same, headers are different. I don’t know if subsequent request for “cms/cms.nocache.js” is different, but the whole thing blows out in the JS execution after all. I really don’t know where is the problem. And I’m quite sick to even have a problem like this. Maybe it’s not the Chrome only, maybe it’s the JS engine. Will I have the same trouble with Safari on Mac? I don’t know because I can’t try it any time soon. But in the end there are more little usability problems with Chrome than I expected. I’ll probably give it a try again after some update, but for now I’m switching my default browser back to Firefox. And I’ll probably have to add a note that “this application is not supported in Google Chrome”. I’d be ashamed, but I’m rather pissed off really.

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Google Docs enhanced?

I’m not sure if it’s on purpose or not, but I miss sidebar in Google Docs application containing folders and some other stuff. You can see it on the picture on this page. Now the trouble is, that I miss that list of folders for a few days already. This is how it looks in Chrome:

In Firefox there is even no space on the left side left. I hope this is only temporary problem and not enhancement. 🙂

Googleized or Googlized?

Doesn’t matter really. Even Googelized can be found with Google – and every form has its foundation. I’ll stick with Googleized – because it contains Google in its fullness.

Of course I used Google to find something on web before, but my full Googleization started when I decided to be invited to Gmail. I always had something against webmails – because they were not usable. I lost few mails because of session expiration and sometimes the service was not even accessible. Gmail got me. Auto-saved drafts, very strong usage of JavaScript that wasn’t obtrusive – on the contrary – everything was aimed to make things easier, faster, better… googlish, you know.

From Gmail to other services

Reliable service (hm, I have to admit, that I found my Gmail inaccessible sometimes too – but only for a short while) is not the only thing that makes Gmail winner in my eyes. When I grasped the label system, found out that not single mail but conversation is what really matters and few other things that changed my perspective of emails – that was that moment when I realized that Google is more. And can be even more. When I grew together with my Gmail, I started to use it even for things it wasn’t intended for. When I needed to write map review in English (that isn’t my first language as you can see ;-)) I used drafts for it. Because of aforementioned auto-save feature and because of spell checking.

When Google Spreadsheets came out I thought to myself: “Now only some notes or whatever where I can create documents with auto-save and spell check.” And guess what… few weeks later it’s called Google Docs&Spreadsheets and I’m writing this post in this application. OK, now I’ve found “check spelling” icon in Blogger, but still I feel more comfortable with this wide window, familiar Gmail/Google look&feel – and after all – there is no problem with copy&paste into Blogger’s post. At least I’m not aware of any. 😉 Maybe some problem will appear when I start to use more features and more text formatting.

Now I’m happy user of Calendar, I started to flirt with Photos/Picasa and – as you may notice – with Blogger too. 😉 And currently my fresh Google Desktop is indexing my computer. Well – how far this can go? And – is it only good? Well… I don’t want to discuss philosophical questions here. I’m open human being and I kinda don’t care what is known and what is not. I let you (anyone) to know things about me. And I know that when I really don’t know something to be know, it’s not to be discussed on Internet anywhere. I don’t consider Google better or worse than other common services in terms of information security. Again – I’m not touching technical aspects of the topic – it’s always up to your feelings to decide what can be said and what not. And where. I simply don’t care in most things. And most of us is not so important anyway. 😛 Ah… too much words for a topic I didn’t want to bring here at all. 😉

Can it be better?

Let’s return to technical level – or at least to level of user’s experience. Can this be better? Well – YES – obviously. It would be really bad if it can’t be better, right? Now some concrete/specific things. Many services display cool “services list” (or how to call it) in the left top corner. When you are on yours docs index, you can see it. You can see it in Gmail, you can see it in Calendar – in these two applications you can even see it all the time (I hope) which is cool. I can switch to another Google domain anytime. Well – not really. Because right now – editing this text – I don’t see this bar. And another magical thing is its content. When I was in Gmail I saw Groups, when I was in Docs&Spreadsheets I saw also Photos – but no Groups. I wasn’t using any of this. Now I used Group for one post about my First Google Desktop experience and Groups are still shown only in Gmail. But when I used Photos today for the first time it started to appear in both applications. Strange.

I want this “service bar” visible all the time. With first link Google showing being not default Google, but personalized one. And I want it stable and customizable to some extent. E.g. let the Gmail link be pointing to HTTPS version instead of plain HTTP one (this is not my case, but I can pretty imagine such a wish). Maybe I should only wait few weeks like was the Docs’ case. 😉

Another thing is that you can enter any service with Gmail account, but it’s not real single sign-on. I have “remember me on this computer” checked on – and so I have no problem with this. But my mate uses to log into the Google/Gmail (he simply doesn’t have that habit to save passwords on computers) – and he has to log again into distinct services.

And let’s go even further (and still not too much – we’re not talking about sci-fi, only about things that my surprise us when Google made us so comfy before ;-)): Why I have to enter some profile on Groups when it wants to know exactly the same things like some services before?

Beware! It’s beta!

Yes. It’s true. Most things are claimed to be beta or even in Labs stadium. If I take this into consideration I have to be more patient – I know. It’s really simple – Google sometimes surprise me with “oh, this is not working yet?” when so many things are working so nicely, intuitively, etc, etc… add your favorite superlatives. You can argue about policies (claimed vs. real one that you can’t know anyway ;-)), you can discuss security or even crisis in global society – but you have to admit that Google is changing our world of information. Not so slowly and – that’s for sure – with new perspectives upon these information. With technical innovations. And even if they are not really first, they are often first able to really deliver.

And that counts. And so I am Googleized and it’s getting worse.