Mark Gilbert's Blog

Science and technology, served light and fluffy.

The Case of the Disappearing Widget: Google Chrome, WordPress, and Accessibility Mode

A couple of months ago, I switched to using Google Chrome as my primary browser.  I was finding specific sites that I frequented on a regular basis just weren’t working well with Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Then, this past week, as my previous Housekeeping post describes, I was updating my blog with a few things.  One of those tasks was to add a Creative Commons license icon and link.  To do this, I used the CreativeCommons.org site to select the license that best fit my needs, and paste the generated block of HTML into my blog.  The “paste into” step was accomplished with the WordPress Text Widget.  I just drag the widget to the sidebar, paste in the HTML and hit Save.  It’s something I’ve done a few times before when I needed to post an image with a link (such as to a conference I was attending).

Then I refreshed my site.  No CC icon.

I went back into admin mode and replaced the HTML with a single line of text, something like “This is a test”.  Save, refresh – still nothing.

Now it was time to tap my good friend, the Internet.  After a little digging, I came across this article by Simon Nicol: http://www.caspianit.co.uk/wordpress-widgets-not-saving-or-dragging/.  In it, he describes my exact issue – dragging and dropping a widget to the sidebar wouldn’t actually save it.  In fact, as soon as I read it, I tried dragging the widget and refreshing the admin page.  Sure enough the widget would disappear – it was as if I hadn’t added it in the first place.

Nicol suggested turning on Accessibility Mode, which would disable the fancy JavaScript on the page, and force me to go through the older process of “click link / wait for page to post and reload”.  While he describes it as a problem with Firefox, it appears to also affect Chrome.

I did not try to prove out the rest of his article, namely that the core issue was the speed with which the browser was executing the JavaScript and if you left your browser idle for a large number of minutes it would work.  I’ll stick with the Accessibility mode and suffer through a few page refreshes.

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September 13, 2010 - Posted by | General

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