Display problems in Firefox

Recently a couple of readers contacted me, noting that they couldn't see any comments on my site in Firefox. In the main column, anything below the actual post content just didn't show up. On the home page, nothing below the intro to the first post was visible. Other browsers display the comments as expected.

What seems to happen is that if a page contains an object element, that element and anything that comes after it in the source code is not displayed. When I asked the people having this problem to check the source code of the pages, they reported that everything was there. It just wasn't rendered on screen. Very strange.

At first I thought it could be some odd CSS problem, but since I haven't been able to reproduce the problem myself, I didn't really know where to start looking. Then I got a report from one of the readers that were having the problem that trashing the user profile had done the trick, and made the comments and the comment form visible.

That made me start thinking of what could corrupt the user profile, and one possible cause could be upgrading from a Firefox pre-release to 1.0 without uninstalling the older version first.

If that is the case, many people may have problems with their Firefox installations without noticing it. This theory is backed up by my AdSense statistics since the release of Firefox 1.0 (I use an object element to load the ads in XHTML capable browsers).

If you load this post in Firefox 1.0, and see no Google Ads (unless you're blocking them, obviously), no comments, and no comment form, your Firefox user profile is probably broken, and you need to trash it. Well, the entire profile isn't necessarily corrupt, but I don't know exactly which file is causing the problems.

I really appreciate it when people leave comments around here, so it's a shame if a lot of you can't read other people's comments or post your own. It would be great to sort out exactly what causes the problem, and if it can be fixed without trashing the entire user profile. Removing the object element or serving my pages as text/html could fix the display problems, but I have no way of checking if it does. Besides, even if it did help it would be a really ugly workaround.

Anyone have any ideas?

Update (2005-01-23): The AdBlock extension for Firefox is causing the problem, not corrupted Firefox user profiles.

Apparently it has problems hiding an object element. There are workarounds (see the comments), but AdBlock is broken, not Firefox or my site.

If you use AdBlock to hide Google ads and would like to read or post comments here, please set AdBlock to "Hide ads" instead of "Remove ads" until the AdBlock extension has been updated.

Update (2005-01-26): The problem has been fixed for the next version of AdBlock.

Posted on January 23, 2005 in Browsers