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  1. #1
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    Question Who is browsing without JavaScript enabled?

    I'm curious about something. Who exactly is browsing the web without JavaScript enabled? Is it people with disabilities? People with really old browsers? People who purposely disable JS for security reasons? Other?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru MikeBigg's Avatar
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    not a person, but still something that shows in log files: search engine spiders.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Welcome to SitePoint Forums!

    As you suggest, people with old, non-JavaScript browsers make up one category. I think it's a small group, though. Some old browsers do support JavaScript as such, but not all the features of the recent JS versions (like try/catch blocks). Also, these browsers may not support the W3C DOM (document object model) specifications.

    People who are blind or severely visually impaired need to use a screen reader to translate the text on the screen into synthetic speech. Dynamic content, like JavaScript that modifes the page after it's been loaded, can often interfere with a screen reader. It's also likely that JavaScript changes to the DOM tree go by undetected by the screen reader, so that it doesn't announce the new content. This wreaks havoc with Ajax applications, for instance.

    The knee-jerk response from Microsoft every time a new security hole is found in IE is to recommend that users disable client-side scripting until a patch is available. I imagine that some people follow this advice.

    There are IT departments in commercial corporations and goverment institutions etc that centrally disable JavaScript for security reasons (perceived or real). The users cannot enable it themselves. Another variety is to have a firewall that simply strips all JavaScript code that tries to pass through. This is extra sneaky, because it doesn't let you fall back to a noscript element. (The browser may have JS enabled; it just never gets any JS code to run.)

    People who cannot get broadband (like myself) may disable JavaScript (or use a non-JS browser like Lynx) just to limit the bandwidth. I don't disable JS altogether myself, although I do disable images. Even at the office (where we have a fast connection) I disable JS for certain sites (mainly news sites) because it's used for extremely annoying effects like ticker-tape marquees.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  4. #4
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Disabling Active Scripting in IE6 is the ONLY way to get rid of the annoying messages about the page not displaying because activeX is disabled (the disabling of which is the only way to block about 500+ of the 600+ security holes in IE6). ActiveX is the cause of most Microsoft security holes but if you disable it in IE6 without also disabling the running of all client side scripts then you will get constant popups telling you that activeX is broken (even though you already know it). At least with IE7 the majority of the axtiveX modules that cause problems are disabled by default so that you don't have the same issue. Other browsers don't have activeX at all and so don't have this issue but any sensible person who is forced to use IE6 will have Active Scripting disabled.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Thanks for the info, Everyone! This helps a lot.


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