Emails like these are strange. They can send a blog owner into panic mode much quicker than an earthquake warning can possibly do; I was no exception. Before I knew, I had already opened Internet Explorer 7 and was opening the URL. The page started loading, as my eyes remained glued to the monitor screen and for a moment my heart raced like a speeding bullet. And boom! IE 7 crashed with “Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site. Operation aborted.” message [here is a screenshot]. Clicking the OK button displayed "The page cannot be displayed" instead, thus restricting anybody from opening the blog URL! This was really shocking as well as unexpected for me. Shocking, because my blog was crashing in Internet Explorer [around 35-45% of my visitors use IE, mind it]. And unexpected, because I had NOT touched my blog template (HTML code base) in months, thanks to my current hectic schedules. And still here I was. All I could remember, my blog was working fine in IE 7, the last time I had checked. Hence, I was spellbound regarding what must have caused this. Instinctively, I did a Sitemeter and Google Analytics check and saw a 40% decline in my blog’s recent page visits. Damn! Must have been due to this IE crash.
» I tried to follow Blogger’s recommendation to remove the “Follower’s widget” but in vain. I could not get rid of the crash.
» Even I saw suggestions to redirect the readers to Mozilla page to download Firefox. I considered this option for a while but felt that it would be too intruding for the readers.
» I searched for a patch from Microsoft so that I could redirect my readers with IE 7 there. I could not get hold of one. Instead, I came across a suggestion from Microsoft to upgrade to IE 8 instead.
Initial investigation/testing into this issue suggested that:
» This was a problem with ONLY Internet Explorer 7 (and earlier versions) and not in Firefox, Chrome, Opera or any other.
» My blog’s homepage was opening fine in IE 7, but not the individual archived "post pages”. This gave me a test idea. I tried opening the label pages. And wow! They opened fine in IE 7.
Update1! Looks like the fix was not good enough to support IE 8! This is irrespective of Microsoft's claim that IE 8 has the fix that should take care (handle parse errors more gracefully by hiding them to the status bar and allow the user to continue browsing the web page) of the issue in IE 7. Thanks to Mistah Bonzai for alerting me about it. I have upgraded to IE 8 now and I could reproduce the "Aborted Operation" error, even though I was on Windows XP. Damn! Now what? Well, I don't know! Let me investigate more into this and I will update this post as soon as I have new information.
Update2! Looks like Blogger (read Google) and IE (read Microsoft) have signed a secret "no-offense; let's be friends" agreement! Out of curiosity, I reverted back to the Embedded Comment form recently and now IE seems to behave nicely without any "Operation aborted" error. I have confirmed this in IE 6, 7 and 8. And all 3 of them work fine with Blogger's Embedded Comment form now. I am hoping that this is a permanent fix. I will keep testing this compatibility from time to time and update this post in case I find anything unpleasant.