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  1. #1
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    Ebay's 'mess'...

    Has anybody had a look at Ebay's HTML recently? I was trying to view the source HTML of one of my auctions today, and the mess I found, which Ebay have created, is unbelievable...

    <div id="cobrandHeader"></div><div id="dynamicmenu-hdrCtr" class="hdrCtr"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100&#37;" class="logobar"><tr><td width="1%" valign="bottom" class="logoimg"><a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://pics.ebaystatic.com/aw/pics/uk/logos/logoEbay_x45.gif" alt="From collectables to cars, buy and sell all kinds of items on eBay" border="0"></img></a></td><td valign="bottom" width="2%" class="mr"><span class="greeting"><!-- BEGIN: GREETING:SIGNEDIN --><a href="https://signin.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?SignIn" tabindex="-1" rel="nofollow">Sign out</a><!-- END: GREETING:SIGNEDIN --><span id="bta"></span></span></td><td id="rbt" valign="bottom"><span class="coupon"></span></td><td align="right" valign="bottom"><div class="addllinks"><a href="http://pages.ebay.co.uk/sitemap.html">Site Map</a></div></td></tr></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tr><td class="brnd1"></td><td class="brnd2"></td><td class="brnd3"></td><td class="brnd4"></td><td class="brnd5"></td><td class="brnd6"></td><td class="brnd7"></td></tr><tr><td class="brnd8"></td><td class="brnd8"></td><td class="brnd8"></td><td class="brnd8"></td><td class="brnd8"></td><td class="brnd8"></td><td class="brnd8"></td></tr></table><div class="snav"><div class="snavE"><div class="snavW" id="dynamicmenu-snavW"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tr><td width="1%" class="snav"><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0"><tr><td id="browsecategoriesitem" class="fc"><a id="BrowseCategories" href="http://shop.ebay.co.uk/allcategories/all-categories">Categories <img src="http://pics.ebaystatic.com/aw/pics/uk/globalHeader/imgHdrDropDownIcon.gif" border="0" height="6" width="6"></img></a></td><td id="enayexpressitem"></td>
    LOL at the "eNayexpressitem" class at the end too.

    Now, is it just me, or is this hard to believe? A multi million pound company like Ebay, and they have this smorgasbord of tables and never ending classes and IDs, most of which are surely unnecessary, had the site been designed properly.
    I mean, look at
    <td id="rbt" valign="bottom">

    Does the website designer not know how to use basic CSS?
    The whole thing is beyond awful - a never ending mess, divs contained within divs contained within yet more divs, just to display the most basic things!

    I presume this is the code they use to display some of the rounded corners:

    <td colspan="3" class="dynmenubrdr">##1##</td></tr><tr><td><img src="http://pics.ebaystatic.com/aw/pics/motors2/images/imgCrnrO4.gif" height="6" width="6" border="0" class="crnrimg"></td><td class="dynmenubtmbrdr">##2##</td><td><img src="http://pics.ebaystatic.com/aw/pics/motors2/images/imgCrnrO3.gif" height="6" width="6" border="0" class="crnrimg">
    Shocking! Why have
    class="crnrimg"
    and then also have
    height="6" width="6" border="0"

    ?????????

    Whoever is responsible for this, they're being paid way too much...

    I had a look on Google to see if anybody else had blogged about this, but couldn't find anything. Is Ebay the worst offender out there, or are there other world famous sites with similarly hideous code?

    I guess they like wasting thousands of pounds every year in unnecessarily large webpages...

  2. #2
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    Talking

    And it gets even worse:

    <td colspan="3" class="vi-is1-clr"><span class="vi-is1-dt"><span class="vi-is1-ctdn vi-is1-tml"><span id="v4-6" class="vi-c-h">0</span><span id="v4-7" class="vi-c-h">h</span> <span id="v4-8">5</span><span id="v4-9">m</span> <span id="v4-10">7</span><span id="v4-11">s</span> </span><span><span>(26 Jul, 2009</span><span class="vi-is1-t">19:08:55 BST)</span></span></span>

    So the text that all of that mess actually displays is:

    0h5m7s (26 Jul, 2009 19:08:55 BST)



    Lovely.

    Judging from their bizarre style names, they've automated the process and it just randomly produces memorably style names like "vi-is1-ctdn"!!!! I'd love to know how the mind of the designer(s) work(s)...

  3. #3
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    You could say the same about Gmail. They sort of "compile" the markup before sending it to the user so that the class names and IDs are mostly gibberish, in order to save bytes. Gmail also uses huge amounts of nested DIVs and SPANs all over the place, but not so many tables.

    eBay probably started out using tables like any website in the 90s, and they've probably just built upon the original code, ending up with this hideous mess. Perhaps their reasoning is that an entire rewrite would be too costly. And it works, in all major browsers and mobiles, so that's the most important thing for them.

  4. #4
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    But I would have thought that the extra cost for delivering such large webpages must be costing them a fortune, and after all, it's not as if the auction page would take very long, nor cost very much to fix - all auctions use the same auction page template, so this is millions of pages served every day, all with this laughably bad code.

    The point being - who on earth did they hire, who 'updated' it by adding classes to a table element, while leaving in all the attributes that were already there? They obviously don't know what they're doing!

  5. #5
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    Maybe the execs at the top don't know about the savings that can be made by saving bandwidth by trimming down the code delivered to the front end, and the developers are keeping quiet because of all the work it would require!

    I fully agree, though, they would save a lot of money and it would be a worthwhile investment. Not to mention that it wouldn't be a hugely difficult task, if the developers were good at developing.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast antitoxic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
    Maybe the execs at the top don't know about the savings that can be made by saving bandwidth by trimming down the code delivered to the front end, and the developers are keeping quiet because of all the work it would require!
    Surely they've hired an advisor for these matters. My guess is the same as yours - developed quite a few years ago and all based on tables from then on.
    I've recently made some userstylesheets for imdb.com and this is well worth mentioning. Amazon has made it not only look 80s but coded in this very style as well. While working on it, they've updated parts of it (the sidebar), but not as you would expect. They've just changed the table colours and added a font tags!
    It's so bad that in the FAQ section , assuming it should be most accessible as it is one page for all the help, most of the text is put in end-lacking anchor tag with no reason.

    Raffles, I wonder why would gmail or any other service compile their code before outputing it? Is it only for the ids?
    Concerning Gmail , isn't it rather recent service. Why do they use so much excess code?
    I've noticed some websites keep empty elements as if they include the wrapper for component's template even when it's not supposed to show?


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