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RE: OBJECT tag and the IE

From: Jukka Korpela <jukka.korpela@tieke.fi>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 12:16:18 +0300
Message-ID: <621574AE86FAD3118D1D0000E22138A95BDD5F@TIEKE1>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Tom Gilder wrote:

> Sadly IE/win's handling of <object> is severely broken.

And there are serious problems with other browsers as well. Browsers that
have no idea of <object> are not the problem, if the document is written
well, i.e. with adequate fallback as the content of the <object> element.
It's the browsers that try to support <object> that are the problem, when
they fail in presenting the object adequately _and_ fail to use the
specified fallback. There's a page for testing <object> implementations at
(which crashes my IE 5.5. when ActiveX is disabled, probably due to problems
related to <object> implementation flaws!).

Briefly, the implementation problems make the use of <object> questionable.

> It will eventually display the image, but will behave more 
> like you inserted an
> iframe - complete with padding and scrollbars. You also can't 
> scale the image.

These aren't really bugs but a matter of quality of implementation. There's
no specification of exactly how <object> embedding should take place. But
there are more serious issues. In fact, <iframe> might be a better
alternative than <object>, due to fewer bugs in implementations

> Maybe for IE7, Microsoft?

Well, even if IE7 supported <object> properly, how many years would it take
before we can safely use <object>. It takes time before people switch to new
versions, and people with special needs might find it more difficult to
upgrade, for various reasons like integration of a browser and assistive
technologies, or lack of the experience and skill needed for an upgrade.

Maybe it would be best if <object> got forgotten and a new element, or set
of elements, introduced instead, designed to that browsers with no support
to it/them will present the author-supplied fallback instead. (Name? How
about <include>? :-)) This would, in a sense, repeat the design of <object>,
but giving it a fresh start, and perhaps with more modest goals. And there
should be a requirement that a user agent allow the user disable the
inclusion, so that fallbacks are used; this, if obeyed, would give some
weapons against too faulty implementations, and it could be especially
useful for accessibility too, if supported on a per-mediatype basis. (It
could be essential to be able switch off the inclusion of some media types,
when they are not useful to the user.)

Jukka Korpela, senior adviser
TIEKE Finnish Information Society Development Centre
Phone: +358 9 4763 0397 Fax: +358 9 4763 0399 
Received on Friday, 28 June 2002 05:15:51 UTC

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