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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
http://www.robinlionheart.com/stds/html4/objects.html
(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
http://www.tieke.fi
Phone: +358 9 4763 0397 Fax: +358 9 4763 0399 
Received on Friday, 28 June 2002 05:15:51 GMT

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