We Give a F*** How the Site Loads

4 min read

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dt's avatar
Developers can be angry people sometimes. This is actually quite the understatement and dt is no exception to that assessment. With web development in particular, there are several moments during the day where we are astounded, perplexed, and irritated by why something works the way it does--often over things beyond our control like lack of uniform web standards. Abe Stanway, the creator of Commit Logs from Last Night, actually gives a pretty compelling, and serious, Ignite talk on the functionality of profanity for developers here:

(It has several cool histograms and visualizations of how developers use profanity and which languages it's most prevalent in--surprise ending: Javascript generates the most profanity)

Last week, we received a very interesting, if not amusing, bug report:

"I just wanted to let you know that the reason why deviantART's CSS isn't loading properly for some people is because one of your CSS files has f*** in a stylesheet comment."

That's right. The almighty F-word was breaking how some stylesheets were loading for deviants who were accessing the site from computers with overly sensitive system-wide profanity filters installed. These users' browsers likely stopped parsing the stylesheet entirely upon reaching the word in the stylesheet, leading to a fairly ugly and/or broken page.

The irony here is that we didn't have to do anything to fix this bug (well, we did have to rename an image file that had a vulgar name!).

Why didn't we have to do anything?

Last week, we made a pretty big switch in how we build stylesheets on deviantART. We started using LESS with the CSS rollup files that we build (deviantART has hundreds of stylesheets--we combine these into single rollup files to reduce the number of requests your browser has to make).  One of the outcomes of this switch was that we no longer serve stylesheets with developer comments left in.

Oops. We're sorry, everyone. We can't promise we'll never swear again. But we can promise if you're browsing deviantART at the public library, our swearing won't stop you from using the site. :)

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Creativesm75's avatar

just randomly came across this. I had no idea a vulgar word could cause this kind of problem...0_o;