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#1
Old 04-23-2010, 01:34 PM
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Why doesn't the back button on the browser work all the time?

Let me explain this with an example.

I open my web browser to the Google home page. I type is a search string and hit search. Google opens a page with all the hits it found for the search string. I click on one and it takes me to the home page of a website. I click the different pages of the website and click back and land up at the home page of the site.

I then click the back button to wanting to go further back to the Google list.

Now here is the question. On most sites, I can successfully navigate away from the website by hitting the back button repeatedly, eventually going to the the listing page from where I had started. On some sites though I get locked. Clicking the back button does not let me navigate away from the website's home page, unless I enter a new url and hit go.

Is this a problem with Google or is it the source code on the website’s page that does not allow me to navigate away from it by using the back button. If it is the latter, why do they do it and is it legitimate. Can something be done about it?
#2
Old 04-23-2010, 01:45 PM
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There may be a redirect page that is standing in line as a page in your history, but when you hit back and the browser lands on that page, it just redirects again.

Try either hitting back twice quickly before the redirect happens, or use the back history dropdown menu (the little down-pointing triangle next to the back buttons) and go back that way.

The only other thing I can think of is that a new page opened in a new tab and you didn't realize it.
#3
Old 04-23-2010, 01:45 PM
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I would hazard to guess the latter. They want to keep you there.

In the instance where I have experienced what you describe, you can click the drop-down button next to the "back button", that will list the pages in your current browsing history. You can then scoll down and select the "Google" page in your example without having to enter a new url.
#4
Old 04-23-2010, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
I would hazard to guess the latter. They want to keep you there.
I do not think it is intentional to hold you there. For example, some sites have several common misspellings of their address (or a .org address) that redirect back to the main page.
#5
Old 04-23-2010, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
There may be a redirect page that is standing in line as a page in your history, but when you hit back and the browser lands on that page, it just redirects again.

Try either hitting back twice quickly before the redirect happens, or use the back history dropdown menu (the little down-pointing triangle next to the back buttons) and go back that way.
This.

I'm betting it's an AJAX thing. Many web pages these days dynamically load and change content, and are set up so that if you click a "link" the site does not serve a new page, only the new content.

Since there isn't a change in HTML documents, a headache for AJAX developers is what happens when you hit the back button. Without any countermeasures, you'll end up leaving the page entirely, even if that isn't what you expect. One (very imperfect) way this is handled is to use a redirect page. Your last state is stored in a cookie when you make a change, and if you hit the back button you'll hit the redirect page, which then sends you back to the content page.

Like this:


Google -> Redirect -> Page [State A] -> Page [State B] -> back button -> Redirect -> Page [State A, as dictated by cookie].


As I said, this is a very imperfect, klugey solution that has a number of annoying, and unpredictable, side effects (and imho, often a cure that's worse than the disease). However, if you really need to account for the back button on an AJAX page, most of the other fixes I've read up on are much worse.

Last edited by Engywook; 04-23-2010 at 02:15 PM.
#6
Old 04-23-2010, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
Try either hitting back twice quickly before the redirect happens...
I have tried that and it works sometimes but not for all sites.
Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
The only other thing I can think of is that a new page opened in a new tab and you didn't realize it.
This happens with IE and I don't think IE opens new tabs like Google. Or if it does I am probably ignorant, but I haven't seen multiple tabs in IE like it happens in Google and Firefox.
#7
Old 04-23-2010, 08:47 PM
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This is weird. I tried navigating to the same site and back using IE in one instance and using Google again.

I got stuck in the first case but with Google I could go back using the back button.

I am not sure but it seems therefore that the issue has to be with the browser one is using.

I am not familiar with HTML or the technology behind the loading of webpages, so I could be wrong.
#8
Old 04-23-2010, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
This is weird. I tried navigating to the same site and back using IE in one instance and using Google again.

I got stuck in the first case but with Google I could go back using the back button.

I am not sure but it seems therefore that the issue has to be with the browser one is using.

I am not familiar with HTML or the technology behind the loading of webpages, so I could be wrong.
If, by using Google, you mean using Google Chrome, then that is a possibility. It's possible that Google handles redirects "better", perhaps by not putting a the redirected URL in your history. It's also possible that the page uses a workaround to get something to work properly in IE, and that causes the problem you are seeing.
#9
Old 04-23-2010, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
This happens with IE and I don't think IE opens new tabs like Google. Or if it does I am probably ignorant, but I haven't seen multiple tabs in IE like it happens in Google and Firefox.
IE opens new tabs if you ask it to. The way you ask it to is by holding down the Ctrl key while you click the link. That, or right-click and select "Open in new tab."

While this doesn't answer your main question, you may want to avoid the problem by opening your (e.g.) Google links in a new tab—that's the way I generally do it.
#10
Old 04-23-2010, 09:57 PM
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Want to give us an example website?
#11
Old 04-23-2010, 11:15 PM
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pebkac
#12
Old 04-24-2010, 09:40 PM
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Some sites I've visited go through 4-5 redirects or some other sort of page before you get to the home page. The first thing that happens when you back up to one of these is that it sends you back to the home page. If you very quickly click the "back" button several times, you still won't make it back to the search page before you get redirected to the home page. I have a hard time believing that there's a GOOD programming reason for this, as opposed to the insidious "don't you dare leave this page" motivation, especially when you consider that I can navigate within the site just fine.
#13
Old 04-24-2010, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maserschmidt View Post
Want to give us an example website?
Ebay.
#14
Old 04-25-2010, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Ebay.
I just backed out of ebay with no problem, in Safari. Maybe it's an intermittent kind of thing?
#15
Old 04-25-2010, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Maserschmidt View Post
I just backed out of ebay with no problem, in Safari. Maybe it's an intermittent kind of thing?
Hilarious.

They fixed it. It's been broken for at least a year, and it was broken no more than a week ago.
#16
Old 04-25-2010, 11:32 AM
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I hang up using Firefox. Especially in an article that has a picture slide. I can not back out .
#17
Old 04-27-2010, 12:37 PM
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Sometimes pages are opened in a new tab. If that is the case, you need to close the tab instead of using the back button. That is my experience.
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#18
Old 04-27-2010, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Hilarious.

They fixed it. It's been broken for at least a year, and it was broken no more than a week ago.
Oh so THAT'S how it's gonna be, eh? All right, I'll bite. Give me another site.
#19
Old 04-08-2013, 12:55 PM
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back button problems on one site.

Allow me to add one to the frey. The site is rvtrader.com I don't have a problem on my computer at work on rvtrader.com. Only on my gateway lap top. Started out needing only one click to go back. Then 3 clicks. Later, 5 clicks. Now, it will not go back at all. Since it does not do this at work, it must be something on my lap top only on the rvtrader.com site. Any ideas?
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