I’m sure you’re quite familiar with the typical trick web-developers use to hide content: They give you an annoying DOM element over the top of it with text something along the lines of “Subscribe” or “Join The Community”, etc.
Today I encountered a new trick… the site just up and vanished on me. What’s going on?
Let’s put that in layman’s terms: The stuff you look at can now jiggle, appear with a gradient, and spin when you hover over it with the mouse.
It’s easy enough to disable if you’re willing to look around in the Firefox developer tools. Just right click on a page and select “Inspect Element” from the drop down menu that appears. You’ll be presented with an interface containing the layout of the site, and in it, you can change everything about the site – HTML, CSS, link sources, … everything. These are the built-in developer tools of Firefox. Chrome also has tools like these.
The trick beepi used was to animate the opacity of elements to 0. Of course, setting the opacity of each invisible DOM element to 100 didn’t finish the job. I also had to change visibility attributes (disabling them), and beepi made finding the offending CSS easy: they set their DOM elements’ class’ to “hidden” something or another. That was convenient. After revealing the page, I wasn’t all that impressed with their selection, and that was a let down. Maybe I should have let it stay hidden, but at least I got a blog post out of it.
If web developers want to hide their content, then, the burden of supporting it will lie squarely on their network infrastructure. That’s not something they want to hear, I assure you.
Sticking dynamic data on CDNs also removes content protection otherwise hidden by pay-walls because the content is openly available. It will take coordination between the CDNs and the companies who put their data on CDNs in order to keep such data protected. While I’ve never looked into it myself, and I’m sure businesses have made some advances in this direction, I haven’t encountered as much implementation as I would otherwise expect. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or is it just a sign of laziness or lack of resources on the part of business?