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back to article Parcelforce to drop Windows 7 compatibility through letterbox in New Year

Parcelforce plans to overhaul its website early next year to allow Windows 7 users to access its service. As we reported yesterday, The Royal Mail's parcel delivery website has been upsetting some Windows 7 fans, because the service doesn't support Microsoft's latest operating system. Customers have been struggling to access …

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Silver badge

Browser / OS requirements should be a thing of the past

I can possibly understand a site that relied on multimedia controls if it imposed browser restrictions. I can possibly understand an in-house site being broken on some browsers. But an outwards facing site of a major courier?

What the hell were they thinking when they drew up their requirements? Maybe non-IE or non-Windows browsers represent a minor additional QA/dev burden, but even if they represent only a few % of customers, that is still a few % of potential profit. Any company would be completely bonkers to turn away business like that even at the best of times.

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Anonymous Coward

Where is the compatability

I am confident that the Parcelforce website coding leaves a lot to be desired but if the new kid on the block breaks the code, why is it just Parcelforce's fault?

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FAIL

Typical commentard

Facts? We've heard of 'em, but we prefer guessing wildly.

It has nothing to do with compatibility- it checks for speciifc OS and borwser combinations and refuses to go any further unless it's happy. For example, you can use it just find with firefox under linux, if you make it lie about your acrobat plugin, but it will refuse to play nicely if you don't.

It's just a really really really retarded website, that's why it's parcelfarce's fault, being their website and all.

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WTF?

Ahhh........

......Oh for open, internationally recognised development standards..

What? They exist?

They why the feck isn't Parcelforce using them??

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Megaphone

What a lame excuse!

Suppose eBay or Amazon refused to allow changes to their websites in the run up to Christmas, I mean... for heavens sake!

Are Parcelforce trying to coax the monkey who designed the site down from a banana tree to get stuck into remaking the damn thing - properly?!?!

You try phoning them instead, to book a parcel collection. If your credit card is Protx protected (and their website hands over payment to Worldpay checkout, so this means Protx and other card security protocols are supported) you are stuffed as they can only accept it online where you type in your confidential passphrase in person.

Parcel Farce should be their adoptive name...

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Anonymous Coward

Am I missing something?

Surely the point in a _website_ is that all it needs to do is conform to HTML standards and it should work in any modern browser on any operating system without the need for support for a specific operating system to be designed in.

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ssshhhh

don't tell the plebs or the management at Parcelforce won't be able to charge millions of pounds to upgrade the site.

You see, they've told the execs that it's a highly complicated job that involves realigning the dark matter in the neutron centrifuge (deep below earths surface), something which can only be done during a full moon by trained Bonobo chimps (the Bonobo is immune to deadly gamma rays that live deep underground) but the chimps are busy writing Shakespeare at the moment so in the mean time management require that £3,000,000 be paid into a special bank account for safe keeping until the next full moon when they will have completed a subterranean mine shaft for the chimps to use.

At which point, management will simply remove the bit of code that says "block anyone who's user agent doesn't say Windows 98" and pocket the cash.

Parcelforce will invent a new level of pricing higher than "extortionate" to cover the cost and the world will keep on turning.

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Anonymous Coward

Why yes, you are missing something.

``Dancing rodents''. It's the new user friendly.

Still no word on where that OS dependency came from or what justifies it, just the usual blather and a notice about change management. The latter is good practice, amazingly, but that still does not explain at all the presence of requirements that are very silly indeed.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe whilst they're at it

they could slot in a spot of OS X compatibility, including recognising that there's no such thing as IE 6 for the Mac (or higher) and Netscape, er, doesn't exist any more

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incompetence

Oh really, the web is about supporting operating systems? Hard to believe that such misbelief still exists.

Engage webworkers (or company) that know what they are doing. Problem solved.

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Coat

They'll just leave a card

If ParcelFarce live up to their usual around here they'll slip a card in the door so gently that not even the dog in the hall will hear it asking you to go to a depot 25 miles away.

Mine's the one with the "we were unable to deliver your parcel" card in the pocket.

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FAIL

Worra lorra tossers

'because Windows 7, Vista and Linux platforms "failed to meet the necessary requirements" to enable punters to make a transaction'

Er No that should read 'we know jack about the internet and have pissed some money up the wall on a stupidly non-standard interface and are about to do the same again'.

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FAIL

It's a Fripping website!

It should be tested across a range of browsers, but it shouldn't even be looking at the OS in the User-Agent string!

Their whole approach is wrong here.

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Flame

What year is it?

Here's an idea. Why don't they design their site so that it doesn't matter what operating system or web browser the customer is using.

After they have sorted that out, perhaps they can have a look at this Millennium Bug thing that everyone has been talking about.

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WTF?

It's a website, not an application right?

Remind me why a website would want to know what operating system I'm running.

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FAIL

Take your website and post it

The article said: "Customers have been struggling to access the service and some have been shuttered out of Parcelforce's website altogether, because Windows 7, Vista and Linux platforms "failed to meet the necessary requirements" to enable punters to make a transaction."

So basically what Parcelfarce are saying is "use Windows XP or Mac or go elsewhere" - fine in that case the 'go elsewhere' option looks attractive to me. Strangely enough, the RoyalMail website seems to work fine with Windows 7 and Linux (Ubuntu 8.04 in my case for the latter) - even the purchase postage online option works fine (used it yesterday).

To take the posting to a technical level - I'd be interested to hear what's so special about the IE+Vista or IE+Win7 combo that makes them fail but the _same version_ of IE and XP work. Oh, and when they say that (presumably) they support XP, is that XP+IE only or are Opera, FF, Chrome, etc supported?

I'd recommend that Parcelfarce fire their current eCommerce team, and get in some folks that have a better appreciation of how the service is supposed to work. Or is the online bit just a feature that the pointy-haired-bosses wanted, but everyone else didn't? Certainly the poor state of it (according to the article) seems to suggest a lack of technical commitment.

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hmmm...

I assume that Mac's are also not supported since they were not in the O/S list.

Anyone shed any light on this?

Or do Mac users not use Parcelforce?

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Joke

What happens if....

What happens if I go on-line and order a copy of Windows 7 from an on-line store and ParcelForce happens to be the company that delivers it to me? Will the world blow up just as it dose if you type "Google" into Google?

Sorry bad joke, I'll get my coat. Mines the one with six months worth of undelivered mail stuffed into the pockets!

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Anonymous Coward

Pacelforce?

Parcelforce compatibility with windows 7? Not a big deal in my household ... but, Lego Star Wars 1 compatibility with win7 ... (as I discovered last night) that's a completely different matter and I'm preparing myself for the another round of "cant our computer be like it used to be"!

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Gold badge
FAIL

@Muth

" eBay or Amazon refused to allow changes to their websites in the run up to Christmas"

Actually I'd be *very* surprised if they didn't, along with NTL, Fed-Ex and any other large company you'd care to name in the distribution or retail (and I beleive travel) industries.

Christmas is a *huge* part of all of their business. Any changes will be in a test environment they will be preping to move to live in late Q1/early Q2.

But really. Browser incompatability? What is so complex about this site or so performance critical that it must know what browser you run in order to adapt?

It also seems pretty near sighted of them not to realise that when MS (the largest OS supplier in the world) rolls out a new version *some* people will adopt it fairly quickly (hint to ParcelForce. Most MS copies are sold to new PC mfgs for pre-installation. They don't really have a choice in adoption) and *some* of them are just possibly going to want to use ParcelForce services.

So perhaps they should have scheduled some compatability trials . Say about 3 months ago.

Fail all round

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FAIL

Of cowboys and incompetence

I'm kinda baffled as to *how* a website can be made incompatible with Vista and W7. It'd take truly epic incompetence.

It's either that or some cowboys built it in on purpose so Parcelforce would have to stump another wad of cash to get it 'upgraded'.

So much fail! So much fail!

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exactly

That's exactly what I was thinking - I'm a web-monkey and I cannot think how you'd manage to make a site incompatible with certain OSs WITHOUT doing it on purpose... in fact about the only way I could think of doing it, other than a simple UserAgent based block, would be via a Java Applet or ActiveX control (which would bork anything other than IE anyway).

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Go

User agent

Has anyone tried faking their user agent string to look like XP on a 7 machine? I get the feeling it would work just as well, can't imagine why.

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Go

User Agent

Works fine if you pick a user agent string it's looking for. Install User Agent Switcher on FF and away you go. They have a list which is clearly no longer up to date. Once you have satisfied the list you can continue quite happily. IMHO a d**n stupid way to run a website...

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Anonymous Coward

Parcel Farce...

Had fun and games with these chumps so many times. They're not called Parcel Farce for nothing...

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IT Angle

Blame Pendantry

Maybe the Parcelforce PHB said "It must work for IE on XP" and the autistic web-developer interpreted that as "IE on XP only" ... ?

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Thumb Down

Waste of Time ....

Too little too late idiots, Back when I was using Vista they also refused me use of their service due to the fact that I used Foxit Reader instead of Acrobat, that was enough to put me off.

Use Interparcel instead they let me pick the cheapest price from a range of options including DHL, TNT & City Link. Parcel Force isn't worth the bother especially since they didn't notice Windows 7 came out in October.

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Stop

Its Christmas

Look I think we are all be being a bit harsh at this time of goodwill to all men.

We should think of the all the poor guys who are shovelling the coal into the boilers that drive this website.

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Gates Horns

This is completely mad isn't it

I blame Microsoft, of course.

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Go

It's a website FFS

Test against Mozilla Firefox and have done with it. As long as it works with that, the job's finished.

Firefox is compliant with published standards -- meaning any other browser that also complies with the published standards will render a page that Firefox renders correctly, correctly.

Firefox is also Open Source -- meaning *anyone* can run it, no matter what system they're running: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Solaris, one of the BSDs or something else.

So even if someone has somehow managed to write a site that really does only work properly in Firefox, anybody can use it. Alright, they might have to download Firefox, and it's not the swiftest build in the world, but you only need to do that when a new version comes out. Waiting a couple of hours while Firefox finishes compiling is *vastly* less hardship than having to buy a new PC with a particular combination of software on it.

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Flame

Typical mail excuse.

Delivered Too late, too slow

Nothing new for Parcelfarce then

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