Don't cont search suggestion result timeouts as no results to avoid erroneously closing the popup




10 years ago
2 months ago


(Reporter: ws.bugzilla, Unassigned)


3.5 Branch
Dependency tree / graph
Bug Flags:
firefox-backlog -

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)


User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-GB; rv: Gecko/20091221 Firefox/3.5.7 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)
Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-GB; rv: Gecko/20091221 Firefox/3.5.7 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)

The search suggestion drop-down frequently disappears while I'm typing a phrase, even if the phrase I'm typing matches the top suggestion exactly.

Let's say I'm searching for "search engines". Having typed "search e", the top suggestion is already "search engines". I notice this, and want to pick this suggestion.

However, due to a mental delay my fingers are still typing, so I end up adding "ng", making the whole phrase "search eng". Most of the time this will work just fine, and the drop-down will still be there after I typed "ng".

Occasionally though, the drop-down will disappear - and not reappear again regardless of how long I wait (unless I type more text).

This is rather frustrating to the user because the drop-down disappears at the exact moment the user is about to actually use it.

Reproducible: Sometimes

I suspect that every time I type something a web request gets made, and if the results don't arrive quickly enough the box is removed.

Suggestion: if the results don't arrive, and a drop-down had previously been shown, leave the (stale) drop-down open (and try to get the results again?), because it's less annoying.

The fact that the box is being refreshed could be indicated somehow - e.g. the "search" icon to the right of the search box could be animated.
Summary: Search suggestion drop-down disappears at the wrong times → Search suggestion drop-down disappears at inconvenient times
Do you have suggestions enabled? Does it happen for each and every installed search engine? Have you already tested in Safe Mode ( to make sure no other extension is responsible for that misbehavior?
Version: unspecified → 3.5 Branch
Suggestions enabled: yes (clarification: this bug report is only applicable when all items in the drop-down are suggestions; not sure what happens when there are both).

Each and every installed engine: I've tested Google, Yahoo, Answers - yes for these.

In safe mode: yes, happens too.


1. Make sure the network is heavily loaded to make this easier to reproduce. Full upload + download is probably best, though for me it occurs frequently enough if only upload is maxed out.

2. Pick a longish suggestion phrase and start typing it slowly, one letter at a time, approx 1 per second or even slightly slower. For example "free typing program" has lots of long endings.

Eventually the box should disappear after a letter was typed. If suggestions never come up in the first place, reduce the network loading a tiny bit. I can reliably reproduce this in safe mode every 2-3 attempts at typing a long phrase.

3. Once the box has disappeared, type the next letter anyway - it will reappear again.
Due to the heavy network load you probably run into a timeout. If no response has been sent by the server within 500ms we cancel the request. I strongly believe that's the reason. See also bug 533674 comment 1.
Yes, that makes sense.

Regardless, the disappearance is still inconvenient and can be frustrating. Occasionally it disappears even when there's no load at all, and it's not unreasonable IMO for a request to occasionally take >500ms.

Perhaps this should be reclassified as a UI issue rather than a search box issue, but either way, it would be good to see the behaviour improved. As mentioned before, my suggestion is to leave the box visible on a timeout with stale data, possibly retrying the request automatically in the background.
I would like to hear a statement from Gavin or Ryan.
Suggestions are kind of a special case. The autocomplete code generally assumes that once you get an empty result set, subsequent searches won't return more results, so closing the popup makes sense. With search suggestions, that isn't necessarily the case. I agree that in the no-form-history-results case, we should either ignore the timeout, or avoid closing the popup, at least.
Ever confirmed: true
Summary: Search suggestion drop-down disappears at inconvenient times → search suggestion drop-down disappears at inconvenient times
Duplicate of this bug: 567973
This bug or something similar is still reproducible on Firefox 31.0a1 (2014-03-23) even when Google's suggestion response only takes 42ms. bnicholson can sees this regularly.
OS: Windows 7 → All
Hardware: x86 → All
Blocks: fxdesktopbacklog
No longer blocks: fxdesktoptriage
Whiteboard: p=0
No longer blocks: fxdesktopbacklog
Flags: firefox-backlog-
Whiteboard: p=0
Priority: -- → P5
Summary: search suggestion drop-down disappears at inconvenient times → Don't cont search suggestion result timeouts as no results to avoid erroneously closing the popup
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