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SJS's Journal: Dumb DHL

Journal by SJS

I bought something online. DHL was the cheapest/fastest combination offered, so that's the shipping method I selected, and I've always used FedEx or UPS, so variety is good, eh?

And, this being the Bright New Future, I received a link to the DHL tracking page for my order. Hurrah!

Then I follow the link to see what the status of my shipping order is... and I get a blank page. WTF?

I poke around and discover that the "tracking link page" is nothing other than a form, with all fields hidden, and a fragment of Javascript to change one of the hidden fields and then submit the form. Really, it does nothing of any importance whatsoever, other than consume time, waste bandwidth, and exercise some idiot's Mad Javascript Skillz.

I fix up the page, rip out the Javascript, add a proper submit button (why do so many "web developers" despise the submit button? ), and visit the real tracking page. Whereupon I'm informed of all the information I desire... and I'm also presented with a notice that I am either using a browser that doesn't support Javascript, or that I need to enable Javascript in order to use the page.

Dumb. I already used the page. I discovered the information I was looking for.

Of course, if someone at DHL runs across this, I see three ways it can go:

  1. Nothing happens. I'm a crank on "the internet" and it's vitally important not to upset the web developers by offering up criticism; besides, I should just get with the program and jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon and trust everyone already, instead of being a paranoid freak.
  2. The "programmer" in question takes offense at my Mad Javascript Skillz comment, and further obfuscates the javascript and content, so that I need to spend considerable time reverse-engineering (and presumably I would then give up and concede that my it's-my-computer-not-yours-keep-your-hands-off attitude is no match for mad skillz, and join the rest of the shee^Wpeople in enabling Javascript because that's what everyone else does) the page.
  3. This gets to an actual programmer who looks it over, realizes that this "technique" is indeed entirely bogus, and rips it all out, or at least makes the few minor changes needed to have the system work just fine with and without Javascript.

I think the middle option is actually the most probable outcome, and would demonstrate level of corporate stupidity that moderately intelligent people have come to expect.

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Dumb DHL

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