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OBJECT declaration/instantiation syntax

From: Braden N. McDaniel <braden@shadow.net>
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 04:59:02 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <02fa01bef9d7$d0fae120$b83a11cf@bonezero>
To: <www-html@w3.org>, <www-html-editor@w3.org>
In exactly what contexts can a declared OBJECT be instantiated? This issue
remains annoyingly under-specified in HTML 4.01.

In a previous thread ("OBJECT implementation (longish)"), Ian Hickson and I
agreed that an object declared as

  <object declare id="foo" data="foobar"></object>

could be instantiated with an object element of the form

  <object data="#foo"></object>

In retrospect, though, I'm inclined to think of this as pure conjecture. It
may make *sense*, but I can't find anything in the HTML spec that gives
solid support to this syntax.

The HTML 4.01 spec includes two examples (13.3.4). The first instantiates
the declared object using an A element. It seems reasonable to conclude that
the only functional difference between the example and

  <P>A neat <A href="TheEarth.mpeg"> animation of The Earth!</A>

is that the example could give the advantage of pre-loading the MPEG with
the page.

But what about the second example, where a declared object is given as a
parameter to a different object? Are we to infer that this example could
also have used

  <param name="font" valuetype="ref" data="tribune.gif">

? Or is it supposed to be clear that the hypothetical poem-viewer plug-in
requires that its parameter be an object?

And why has this example been obfuscated by labeling a *.gif as
"application/x-webfont"? This filename extension is pretty ubiquitously
associated with "image/gif", and the HTML 4.01 spec elsewhere makes it clear
that the MIME type sent by the server should be given precedence over
OBJECT's TYPE attribute.

Braden N. McDaniel
Received on Wednesday, 8 September 1999 05:30:41 UTC

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