Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Facebook Not Displaying Content In Firefox

If you live on Facebook - like I do - and use the Firefox browser, you will soon run into an issue that goes something like this: after browsing around on Facebook for a while, clicking links no longer displays the desired content. The browser may have a 'busy' mouse cursor, but most times, it'll report 'Done' in the status bar.
To make sure I'm not going nutz, I did a few sanity tests:
(1) If I open the same link in a new tab (right-click on link -> open in new tab), all is great - the content displays just fine.
(2) If I close and reopen Firefox, then reenter the link, all is well.
(3) I have seen this on more than one computer - at work, home, on friends' machines, and elsewhere.
(4) It doesn't matter what plugins - or add-ons - you have installed. A bare FF install behaved the same way.
(5) It's a Facebook-only issue. You can immediately use the same tab for other websites just fine.
(6) There are no errors generated - whether they be scripting or browser exceptions.
(7) I haven't seen this issue in IE.
(8) If you clear the active cache (both memory and on disk) for the browser, it clears the problem.

I suspect two things:
(1) AJAX history management, since it tends to happen after a lot of browsing on Facebook. Could it be cache/memory managment in the browser?
(2) Timeouts while switching the various DIVs. I did capture a trace of traffic generated when a link is clicked, and all asynchronous requests are returning successfully, as far as I can see. The next thing would be to hide/unhide divs loaded with content - which doesn't seem to be happening in this issue.
(3) Browser's Javascript engine or DOM engine - something might be amiss. Haven't investigated.

Maybe someone else out there has seen this inconvenience, and know how to fix it - if it totally isn't a Facebook issue. I've tried FF 2.x.x.15 and FF3. Or maybe Facebook will investigate.


Fabian said...

Hi there,

I'm glad i found this, I'm having the same issues with FF3.

I find it to be quite buggy anyways, lots of times it will just say 'done' when it hasn't even loaded up anything yet after clicking on links or even entering a new web address and hitting enter. Do you get this as well? I'm using MAC OS X 10.5.4, YMMV with windows.


Jubz said...

As long as I stay on Facebook, entering new URLs does not seem to help. If I go to other websites, works fine. I think it's Facebook's history management as an AJAX webapp.
I've tested on Windows XP, Vista, 2003 Server, tried both FF2 and FF3.

Megan said...

I have notice that the facebook chat that is automatically on facebook now no longer works on firefox as someone figured out whats the problem there?