Bulletin: Loading Problems in the Back Office – Causes and Solutions

by Volker Schwarz, 14.03.11

Certain versions of ePages shop software have been experiencing problems while a shop’s website is being loaded. This results in "white pages", or pages which display no content. This issue occurs primarily in a shop’s back office and is limited to certain versions of the Firefox browser. Shop storefronts are affected less frequently. Continue reading the ePages blog to learn what causes this issue to occur and which solutions facilitate smooth sailing for shops.




With regard to Version 6.10.1, currently being used by many ePages hosting partners, a problem can emerge which leads to a browser not displaying pages in their entirety. After extensive research, our developers were able to identify the reason for this issue. This issue crops up in Firefox 3.X, 3.5.X and 3.6.X only. The issue in question does not affect Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox 4 Beta.

Technical insights

According to our research, the issue is caused by a JavaScript framework we use, Dojo, as well as Firefox itself. The culprit: JavaScript calls to a Dojo function, "dojo.require()", which reloads required JavaScript modules with synchronous AJAX requests. Because this reloading takes place while a page’s document tree is being generated, this process can be interrupted in some cases. Firefox simply stops loading the page – even though the server had downloaded all of the page’s source code.

The connection speed and performance of a client’s computer seemingly affect the incidence of this issue. This issue cannot even be replicated in our development network, for instance, and occurs only sometimes in external systems – depending on connection speed and the computer in question. These circumstances made it extremely difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot the issue.

The problem in question does not seem to be an "ePages problem" per se, but a problem with the Firefox browser instead. Our developers have seen reports on Facebook and IMDB about this type of incomplete page loading; this same issue is also described at http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1943082 with regard to the Dojo framework. In Version 4 of the Firefox browser, currently available as a beta version, Mozilla seems to have eliminated the cause of the problem.

Issue-free operations with Firefox 4 or Chrome

Our developers are working on an update which remedies this issue. They are striving to solve the problem by avoiding synchronous AJAX requests. All JavaScript modules used thus in a shop’s storefront are correspondingly packed into one large JavaScript package, which is integrated at the outset into the page via script tag. These modifications are in Hotfix, which many providers have already rolled out, and eliminate this problem in shop storefronts. We will provide Hotfix to all remaining providers as soon as possible.

As already mentioned, this hotfix solves the problem in shop storefronts, but not in the back office. Version 6.11.1, which we are working on, will remedy this issue. All of the back office’s Dojo packages will be packed together in one large package, which will also accommodate all JavaScript modules not yet declared in packages. With regard to subsequent versions, we will completely remove the Dojo framework – which has caused problems – from the storefront and replace it with jQuery.

Our developers have transitioned from fixing the problem in the shop’s storefront to working at top speed on eliminating the problem in the shop’s back office. Until a corresponding patch can be completed and incorporated, you should use either the beta version of the Firefox 4 browser or the Chrome Browser to administer your shop. The aforementioned issues do not occur in these two browsers.

A piece of advice regarding the Google Chrome Browser: As a result of Google’s short update cycles, the very latest version of the Chrome Browser might not be recognized in the back office. An error message will then be shown in the back office: "The cache is not enabled in the browser you are using". Please ignore this "error message", as you can continue administering your shop without any problems.

About the author

studied German, History and Politics at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. From 2004 to 2009 he worked as a freelancer for several marketing and communications companies in Hamburg, including e-commerce companies. Between August 2009 and December 2011, he worked as an online editor at ePages .

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  1. 21.01.2012

    I am new here and i do have a question. Does anybody know if it is possible to show prices of articles only if i give a client the rights after he of she asked for an account?? i hope somebody can help me

    Kind regards
    Lucienne Versluis

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