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Opera Mini and MeFi: Two Great Tastes That Taste Assy Together September 9, 2009 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Can't comment from Opera Mini on a Blackberry.

I've tried a couple of times to post comments to the blue from two different models of Blackberry (8700 and 8900). Previously was running an older version of Opera Mini (can't recall which) on an old Blackberry 8700, and when I'd try to post a comment to the blue, it would preview just fine, but when I hit the post button it would load the preview page again. Repeated hitting of the post button just continues to preview. Currently running Opera Mini 4.2.14912 on my new 8900, tried to comment in the Dreamcast thread this morning while waiting at the doctor's office, and got the same problem.

I haven't tried yet posting to other subsites, and of course I don't want to make an FPP just to test if that functions properly in OM. Anyone else seen this?
posted by middleclasstool to Bugs at 10:13 AM (39 comments total)

I don't have a Blackberry to test this on. Would you mind posting this test page from Opera Mini and sending me the results via MeFi Mail? That might give me a better sense of why the form isn't posting on Opera Mini.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:33 AM on September 9, 2009


Done, and done.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2009


Just tried to post a comment here. Same thing.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:16 AM on September 9, 2009


Thanks, got it. Unfortunately no leads there. The post looks exactly the same as any other browser. I'll have to track down an emulator and run some other tests.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:22 AM on September 9, 2009


I have the same problem with Opera Mini 4.2 on my Nokia E71 running S60v3 FP1.
posted by kmz at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2009


Just FYI, I also tried to access MeFi and MeTa from the built-in Blackberry Browser and it's throwing a 400 Bad Request.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:42 AM on September 9, 2009


The 400 error looks like a very common Blackberry issue. From a quick scan it sounds like those are often caused by configuration issues on the Blackberry.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2009


New Crackberry Curve here.

The built-in BB browser accessed MeTa, MeFi and AskMe without a hitch. I'm downloading Opera mini to see if I can access/post a comment.
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on September 9, 2009


No Joy. Same Problem.
posted by zarq at 12:14 PM on September 9, 2009


Wow, that's extra weird. I just tried posting to this thread with my BlackBerry using Opera 4.2.13216 and I get no errors at all. I hit post and it acts like it's doing so, but it just brings me back to the same page with my comments in the box. Preview gets me a little further, but posting from there yields the same result.
posted by quin at 12:20 PM on September 9, 2009


Quin, that's exactly the problem I had. It's very strange.
posted by zarq at 12:21 PM on September 9, 2009


Posted from my BlackBerry using the built in browser.
posted by quin at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2009


So yeah, while the built in browser is generally unusable when compared to Opera Mini, it does actually work for posting here.
posted by quin at 12:26 PM on September 9, 2009


If you go to the "Blackberry Browser" and then open the menu for options, do you see an option related to Internet Browser versus Blackberry Browser? This is typically represented as a two-option drop-down menu. Try changing this to Internet Browser, then exit the menu. It should prompt you to Save. If it didn't, try exiting the menu differently.

After that try the Opera Mini browser.
posted by odinsdream at 12:29 PM on September 9, 2009


I had this same problem with Opera Mini on my Nokia N95 the other day, but I just thought it was a shitty connection and thought nothing of it.
posted by Plutor at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2009


odinsdream's solution got the BB native browser accessing MeFi and ended the 400 error, but didn't fix the posting issue in OM for me. Given what Plutor's saying, this is probably more an OM problem than a BB problem.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:13 PM on September 9, 2009


Heh, it even recreates the bug in Opera's online mini demo.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2009


heh, wish I would have known about the Opera online mini demo. I've been wrestling with JDKs and Blackberry Emulators.

I've confirmed the bug on the Blackberry 8900 Emulator running Opera Mini, but I still haven't figured out why it's not posting.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:49 PM on September 9, 2009


One interesting thing I learned today:
Unlike ordinary web browsers, Opera Mini fetches all content through a proxy server that reformats web pages into a format more suitable for small screens. A page is compressed, then delivered to the phone in a markup language called OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language). This compression process makes transfer time about two to three times faster and the pre-processing also smooths compatibility with web pages not designed for mobile phones.
I'm guessing the Opera Mini proxy is having some sort of trouble with MetaFilter. Maybe it isn't seeing the difference between a comment preview and a comment post so it simply displays the page it has in its cache. It's a black box though, so I'll have see if I can work around it with trial & error.

I'm not sure how comfortable I am logging into MeFi on Opera Mini now that I know everything is sent through a proxy, though. They should be more up-front about that.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:12 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as mentioned above, the same issue exists on Symbian (N95 if it matters.) Used to be you couldn't favourite things either, but that came good some time a couple of weeks back.
posted by pompomtom at 4:28 PM on September 9, 2009


I think I came up with a fix for MetaFilter by adding some randomness to the comment preview/post URLs. It worked for me on the Blackberry emulator, but please try a comment in the blue on the real thing if you were having the issue.

If this fix works, I'll move it over to the other sites as well.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:50 PM on September 9, 2009


This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

This is only a test.
posted by quin at 5:23 PM on September 9, 2009


It worked, but I had to preview to get it to actually go. Hitting post just caused the page to reload the first time. And for an extra dose of odd, on the initial page, the Post Comment button's text is grey instead of black. On the preview screen it works and is colored as expected.
posted by quin at 5:27 PM on September 9, 2009


I've got this same problem in Opera Mini on a Curve, but the built in browser works. I'm not sure I understand your fix, pb. It may be that I'm low on caffeine and sleep.
posted by crataegus at 5:34 PM on September 9, 2009


It worked, but I had to preview to get it to actually go.

Yeah, JavaScript is wonky on Opera Mini and for some reason Live Preview isn't working. We want to require at least some kind of preview before post, live or full HTML preview. And since Live Preview isn't working, the direct post button is disabled. But the button isn't completely disabled on Opera Mini for some reason. So I'll need to hide that on the server side (like we do for the iPhone) and you'll have to use full preview.

For the time being, assume that the direct post button will be gone soon and test using the Preview button.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:40 PM on September 9, 2009


Test test testes
posted by middleclasstool at 8:17 PM on September 9, 2009


Hooray!
posted by middleclasstool at 8:18 PM on September 9, 2009


yay! I just got the JavaScript stuff squared away, retested with the emulator, and I'm able to post on MetaFilter. I'll go ahead and move the fix over to the other sites tomorrow.

I'm not sure I understand your fix, pb.

Just to explain a bit more, every request on the Opera Mini browser goes through an Opera server where they work some magic to reformat the page. As part of that process, they have some caching in place to speed everything up. That way if you request the same page over and over again, they don't have to fetch a live copy of the page each time.

On MetaFilter, when you preview a comment you send your comment and some other info via a form post to this URL:

http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/post_comment_preview.cfm

And then, once you've made sure everything looks good, you post again to the same URL. You're sending different form variables in the background, but the URL is exactly the same. So Opera Mini's proxy server probably [1] takes a look at that and says, "That's the page you just viewed like two seconds ago. Here's the cached version." Over and over.

So to work around this the URLs will change each time. Now if you're looking at MetaFilter with Opera Mini, you get a different URL to send your comment and some other info to, like this:

http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/post_comment_preview.cfm?rnd=[random string]

And for each subsequent view, you get a different URL with a different random string. So the Opera Mini proxy server probably [2] takes a look at that URL with a random string and says, "New page here!" and fetches it from the server.

[1] This is pure speculation, and I found next to zero info about the Opera Mini proxy system on the Web. It seems odd because if the form post variables change, it should send the request to the live server. You shouldn't ever cache a POST request, so maybe something else is going on.

[2] Pure speculation.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:45 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


You'd think there would be a bit more transparency there for web developers, since they're effing about with how pages are sent.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:21 PM on September 9, 2009


testes

Hah! Nuts joke.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:22 PM on September 9, 2009


I'm not sure how comfortable I am logging into MeFi on Opera Mini now that I know everything is sent through a proxy, though. They should be more up-front about that.

Yeah, I was going to mention that if you hadn't picked up on.

You'd think there would be a bit more transparency there for web developers, since they're effing about with how pages are sent.

Being more up-front about it might scare some users out of using it.
posted by rodgerd at 12:10 AM on September 10, 2009


I'm not sure how comfortable I am logging into MeFi on Opera Mini now that I know everything is sent through a proxy, though. They should be more up-front about that.

For folks who download the program to their phones or PCs, they mention it very clearly in the Mini's description page as well as on their "Mobile vs. Mini" page.
posted by zarq at 8:03 AM on September 10, 2009


Thank you, pb. You rock. :)
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on September 10, 2009


Being more up-front about it might scare some users out of using it.

I'd like to see them say more clearly that the Mini bypasses SSL and therefore Opera staffers could theoretically see your data as if it were transmitted as unsecured text. Alerting users that the browser really shouldn't be used for banking or financial transactions would be a good idea.
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on September 10, 2009


Wow, this had been broken for the two years that I was using Opera Mini on my Samsung dumbphone. If only I had reported the bug!
posted by zsazsa at 9:28 AM on September 10, 2009


Hey, maybe this fixed Blazer's issues, too!
posted by eamondaly at 5:07 PM on September 10, 2009


WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
posted by eamondaly at 5:10 PM on September 10, 2009


This is me testing this shizzle
posted by Jofus at 8:16 AM on September 14, 2009


Oh lord, this has solved a problem i've been having for like 2 years now. Happy days!
posted by Jofus at 8:17 AM on September 14, 2009


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