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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

bug 404 - Operation Aborted in IE

Issue: #404
Affects: IE6, IE7, IE8

MSDN KB#: 927917

This issue in IE has a deep explanation over on the IE Blog in a post titled: What Happened to Operation Aborted. It is believed to be the source of pain that Sitemeter users were suffering from this past week in IE7.

To sum up, it happens when you use an inline script tag in your page to modify the contents of any of the un-closed ancestor tags of the script tag (excluding the direct parent).

In IE8 they are attempting to fix this, however thus far only the modal error message has been removed, and the page no longer goes blank.

Exact Conditions:
  1. The HTML file is being parsed

  2. script is executing

  3. The executing script attempts to (add or remove) an element from an unclosed ancestor in the markup tree (excluding immediate parent of the script element)


var newDiv = document.createElement('div');

The problem is, this is a very easy scenario to encounter, and to make it worse... if the bug is triggered in an iframe (*cough*, *cough* 3rd party ads anyone?) it affects the parent document, not just the iframe.

To make it worse the dialog is modal, requiring the user to interact with it to close it and when you close it IE navigates to an error page not letting you have a chance to debug it.

Known Workarounds: One. Do whatever you need to do to avoid this scenario. E.g. execute the script after the tag in question has closed, or only alter the script tags immediate parent.

Related Issues: None.

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