Burning Chrome Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2013-06-28 17:00:00 No comments

Every day I get that much more evidence thrown in my face as to why the mad rush to make every program into a web page (or every web page into a program, you choose) is a terrible, terrible idea.

I use a program called TiddlyWiki to keep track of my notes for my various writing projects. It's a pretty good program, as long as you don't mind the fact that it runs in a web browser. The wiki syntax for it is a bit clumsy and gross (although this is being reworked in a new edition of the program), and all attempts on my part to make it use anything other than the bare-bones plaintext editor fields common to all web browsers have ended in tears and torn hair, so I've mostly just bumped along with it as best I can. And  when it's not screwing up on me, it's pretty darn useful.

Now, I use Chrome as my browser of choice. Bad news, TiddlyWiki has a major problem with Chrome: it won't automatically save changes to a wiki unless you include a Java applet in the same directory as the wiki you're editing.  This apparently worked fine until ... sometime last week, by my best guess.

Today, I opened my wiki and to my horror discovered that the massive, massive changes I had made to it during my last session hadn't been saved.

I checked for a pending upgrade to Chrome to see if that was the culprit. Nothing.

I nuked and reinstalled Java. No go.

I tried editing an entirely clean, blank copy of TiddlyWiki in Chrome. Zip.

I tried out Firefox. That works -- although I have to use a plugin specifically written for TiddlyWiki to get anything to save.

Neither a clean install of Chrome with a blank user profile, nor the dev version of the program, fixes the problem.

Rather than tear out my hair trying to figure out what got upgeborked, I gave up and simply used Firefox to edit the wiki for the time being. Not an ideal solution, because I hate having to deal with Firefox, and I resent having to open a completely different browser just to deal with one lousy corner case. Actually, this isn't the only time I have to do that, either: my mortgage bank's website doesn't work in Chrome, either, so I have to open that in FF and dink with it every time I make a payment.

I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong. Best guess from looking at the log is that it's some silly "security enhancement" to Java which ends up breaking backwards compatibility for certain kinds of file-access APIs. I've filed a bug with the TiddlyWiki folks, but I'm prepared to accept the possibility that it isn't their fault. Do I blame Google? Oracle? Who knows?

It says something that the one program I've had the least trouble with during this particular adventure has been Microsoft Word.

Tags: software