Ontario, Your Websites Are Unacceptable

Jan3010Jan 30, 10

An open letter to the Government of Ontario, Canada

To Whom it May Concern,

While attempting to book a Level G road test this evening, I was presented with a "Waiting" page featuring terrible looking animated GIF images. After waiting over 60 seconds (the comical standard procedure prescribed by said loading message), my credit card information and appointment booking were not posted to the server. After another two attempts, I took a quick glance at the source code for the "waiting" page (located at /scripts/waiting.asp), I saw that there was a single script, which attempted to call window.navigate() - not an actual method in commonly used web browsers. I simply copied the URL from that failed method call, entered it into the location bar and was taken to the confirmation page.

This is absolutely unacceptable. As a web developer, I am well aware that there are inconsistencies across the various popular web browsers. However, a web page that is intended to redirect the browser after showing a message, yet fails to redirect the browser, is not just a "bug" or quirk. That is a failure to comply to any kind of standard. I would be interested in speaking with the developer who allowed such a mockery of JavaScript to make it's way into a production environment. I am genuinely offended that the government of the province I live in is incapable of providing even the most basic on-line services to its residents.

To put icing on the unpleasant cake, someone has taken it upon themselves to add a message to the authentication page, which recommends that users use the Internet Explorer 6 web browser - a browser known worldwide for its security flaws and inadequacy, and is not available to Mac and Linux users. While I am sure you are aware, I feel that I must remind you that Internet Explorer 6 is 9 years old, and has been banned in a number of countries. In short, the web browser DriveTest recommends is the same web browser that has repeatedly been used in large scale cyber-warfare attacks, more than any other web browser ever made.

I expect nothing short of confirmation that the DriveTest website is being rewritten. If this is not the case, you're not doing your job.

- Taxpayer

Hey, even Google is ending support for IE6.

About Jason Miller:

I am a JavaScript developer from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. When I am not typing green code onto a black screen, you might find me at the nearest coffee pub checking out the brew. I run a internet firm called developIT and maintain blogs and web apps when I can.
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