Windows Vista EOL

As of April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers are no longer receiving new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft. Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22882/windows-vista-end-of-support

The most recent version of Internet Explorer in Windows Vista was IE 9.0.8112.16421 (9.0.57)

Even Apple, Google and Mozilla Firefox have ceased to maintain browsers for this operating system, dropping support for Windows XP and Vista at the same time.

Chrome 49.0.2623.112
https://chrome.googleblog.com/2015/11/updates-to-chrome-platform-support.html

Firefox 52.9.0 ESR
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/end-support-windows-xp-and-vista

Safari 5.1.7
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/68836/where-can-i-download-safari-for-windows

Windows XP EOL

I recently crossed paths with a customer that was still using Windows XP and experiencing problems with a website.   This led me to evaluate their options for continuing to use this once very common, but now unsupported operating system.

After 12 years, support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014. Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsforbusiness/end-of-xp-support

The most recent version of Internet Explorer in Windows XP was IE 8.0.6001.18702

Even Apple, Google and Mozilla Firefox have ceased to maintain browsers for this operating system, dropping support for Windows XP and Vista at the same time.

Chrome 49.0.2623.112
https://chrome.googleblog.com/2015/11/updates-to-chrome-platform-support.html

Firefox 52.9.0 ESR
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/end-support-windows-xp-and-vista

Safari 5.1.7
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/68836/where-can-i-download-safari-for-windows

An additional problem with use of IE8 on Windows XP is that it only supports up to TLS1.0 which is currently being replaced by TLS1.2  in many web applications.

 

“Referrer-Policy” HTTP Header

A relatively new HTTP Header that is supported by most modern browsers (except MSIE) is the “Referrer-Policy” header. There have been previous attempts to implement similar protections through use of the ‘rel’ (or ‘rev’) attributes on links to external websites. The latest approach takes a different approach and prevents leaking of internal URLs, and in some cases parameters, to external websites. This is important from a security perspective as you might maintain some sensitive information in your page urls, that would otherwise be inadvertently shared with an external website.

Clearly, you’ll need to determine your own level of security based upon your needs. Example: ‘no-referrer’ would be the most strict and would prevent the browser from sending the ‘Referer'(sic) header even to your own websites pages.

Example header values:

Referrer-Policy: no-referrer
Referrer-Policy: no-referrer-when-downgrade
Referrer-Policy: origin
Referrer-Policy: origin-when-cross-origin
Referrer-Policy: same-origin
Referrer-Policy: strict-origin
Referrer-Policy: strict-origin-when-cross-origin
Referrer-Policy: unsafe-url

Implementation can be accomplished in many ways, the most simple being and addition to your HTTP server configuration similar to the one shown below for Apache 2.x:

Header always set Referrer-Policy strict-origin

REFERENCES:

Content-Security-Policy: upgrade-insecure-requests;

As the web has been shifting to HTTPS for security and performance reasons, there are many methods to migrate users. One simple method is via the use of the Content-Security Header.


Content-Security-Policy: upgrade-insecure-requests;

Most modern browsers, except MSIE, currently support this approach.
– Chrome 43+

REFERENCES

Website testing with SortSite

SortSite is a popular desktop software for testing of web applications for broken links, browser compatibility, accessibility and common spelling errors. It is also available as a web application known as “OnDemand“.

You can generate a free sample test of your website at:
http://try.powermapper.com/Demo/SortSite

REFERENCES:

HTML4 script defer

This HTML4 attribute was intended to defer/delay execution of specific javascript code until after the page is rendered. In theory, this makes the website “appear” faster as the functions relevant to the User-Interface can be executed before other “background” processes that would otherwise block the screen from displaying.


<script defer="defer" src="example.js"></script>

NOTE: Do not use defer for external scripts that might depend on each other if you need to support MSIE9 and earlier.

REFERENCES:

HTML5 script async

The HTML5 “async” attribute simplifies page-load performance improvements and dynamic script loading, it can be useful in modern web browsers.

Simply put, this tag allows for the browser to asynchronously load and execute external javascript files in a parallel vs. serial manner. Unfortunately while most modern browser support it, MSIE versions prior to MSIE10+ are problematic.


<script src="example.js" async="async"></script>

This is particularly useful when using third-party javascript libraries and utilities that have no dependeny relationships with your existing website javascript.

REFERENCES:

“msapplication-config” and browserconfig.xml

Windows-8/MSIE-11 introduced Tiles, as such server administrators may have started seeing HTTP 404 errors in their server logs as it attempts to look for a “browserconfig.xml” file at the root of a website domain. If you are inclined to use this file, you should definitely look into the documentation for how to best make use of it. Others may just wish to prevent the error from making “noise” in their log files.

To remove the error, add the following to your pages; alternately you COULD define the URL of your file as the ‘content’ attribute:

<meta name="msapplication-config" content="none" />

You can alternately place an empty /browserconfig.xml on your web server for each domain.

An common example of how to use this file is below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<browserconfig>
<msapplication>
<tile>
<square70x70logo src="/mstile-70x70.png"/>
<square150x150logo src="/mstile-150x150.png"/>
<wide310x150logo src="/mstile-310x150.png"/>
<square310x310logo src="/mstile-310x310.png"/>
<TileColor>#8bc53f</TileColor>
<TileImage src="/mstile-150x150.png" />
</tile>
</msapplication>
</browserconfig>

REFERENCES:

clientaccesspolicy.xml

Similar to ‘crossdomain.xml’, Silverlight has some security features, this too is often noticeable by large number of HTTP 404 errors for a file named ‘clientaccesspolicy.xml’ in my webserver logs.

The most simple solution to the 404’s that restricts Silverlight is to add an empty file at the root of your websites.

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Skype toolbar meta tag… preventing Skype from messing up your UI

I’ve previously documented the method used to prevent IOS devices from formatting numbers.

Users on other platforms, notably Windows, have Skype installed and it too can cause some headaches with your UI as it inserts elements to decorate phone numbers.

For users that have the Skype Toolbar enabled, the following META tag will prevent it from doing a lot of damage!

<meta name="SKYPE_TOOLBAR" content="SKYPE_TOOLBAR_PARSER_COMPATIBLE" />

REFERENCES: