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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Keeping Flash Active

By now you might’ve heard about Microsoft altering the way Internet Explorer handles ActiveX as a result of an ongoing patent dispute (one that may eventually affect Apple and Mozilla).

The XP/2003 update results in plugin content such as Flash needing a click to be activated before it can be interacted with, a tweak that apparently sneaks around the wording of the patent. It’s been expected for some time but, like many developers, I’d hoped Microsoft would buy/litigate its way out of trouble somehow.

A workaround lets site owners avoid the extra click by inserting content using JavaScript, via DOM methods or innerHTML (document.write doesn’t do the trick, so most scripts used by ad servers need updating). It’s an irritating hack, but it looks like we’re stuck with it, so if you’ve got Flash content in your site it’s time to fire up that text editor or get hold of your developers.

So what’s the best readymade solution out there? Well, both UFO and FlashObject offer similar, well-thought-out approaches to detecting and embedding Flash, and both avoid the ‘Eolas click’. I’ve used UFO in the past without problems, but am currently leaning towards using FlashObject to update my sites over the next week or so (the variable-handling features might prove useful).


I say don't change the websites and force users to use a better browser. ;)

Come on people, thar be strength in numbers! =D

— jay, 12th Mar, 4:35pm

Rival browsers are just as vulnerable to getting dragged through the courts by Eolas. Microsoft was the richest target and so the obvious one to start with.

Matt Round, 13th Mar, 9:30pm

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