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backwards compatibility of OBJECT

From: Wendy A Chisholm <chisholm@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Tue, 07 Apr 1998 16:51:57 -0500
Message-Id: <199804072151.QAA13429@trace.wisc.edu>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

I have performed a few tests to determine how extensively we can make use
of OBJECT instead of IMG TODAY.  My particular goal is to figure out a
solution for the alt-text/title/longdesc discussions.

The test page I have been using is at
It has been verified against the HTML 4.0 strict DTD and uses modified
examples from the image and image map section of the 19980203 version of
the page authoring guidelines.

What I have found:
1.  when viewed with Netscape 2.02 and 4.0 without images loaded, I get the
text within the OBJECT element, as well as the alt-text of an image within
the OBJECT element.

2.  when viewed with Internet Explorer 4.01 with the file on the server
without images loaded, I don't get any text for any of the objects.  when
viewing the file on my hard drive, I get the text within the content of the
object element for the first object but not the other two.

3.  when viewed with Lynx (latest, I think 2.7?) or DosLynx (not sure which
version), [USEMAP] is displayed for the first two objects, and the text of
the 3rd object's content is displayed.  Selecting the USEMAP links gives me
the error, "there is no client-side image map."

4.  when viewed with Opera 3.1 I get the same results as netscape 2.02 and 4.0

What I wish I had found:
it seems that if all user agents tested had displayed the text within the
body of the object elements we could move ahead in our discussion of
alt-text with OBJECT as a potential solution.  As it is, I don't think we
can move forward on a solution for today (i.e. the near future) unless
someone knows how we could use OBJECT to be compatible across platforms,
old and new.  Actually, I am more concerned about new since the "old"
(versions less than 4 of navigator and explorer) seem to ignore the object
tags and display the text from the body of the element.


wendy chisholm
human factors engineer
trace research and development center
university of wisconsin - madison, USA
Received on Tuesday, 7 April 1998 17:51:18 UTC

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