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Relative URLs in SMIL documents and Netscape/Explorer

From: Jack Jansen <Jack.Jansen@cwi.nl>
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 23:45:23 +0100
Message-Id: <UTC199811022245.XAA03204.jack@snelboot.cwi.nl>
To: www-smil@w3.org
A problem that many people who have downloaded our GRiNS browser
encounter is that web-browsers on Mac and Windows ruin relative URLs
when following a SMIL link.

What happens is that when the user clicks a SMIL URL in a web document 
(assuming the server set the correct application/smil mimetype and the 
user has configured the help application correctly) the browser
downloads the document and starts the player with the local copy. This 
has the unwanted side-effect that relative URLs in the document don't
work anymore, because the URL of the source document is lost.

On Unix-Netscape the user can work around this by setting the helper
application to "grins %u", which makes netscape start the helper with
the URL as argument in stead of downloading the document, so
everything works fine. On Mac and Windows there seem to be no such

The SMIL author has two workarounds: either using absolute URLs
everywhere in the SMIL document or adding a <meta name="base" .../>
tag. Both of these have the disadvantage of needing more maintainance, 
and making local playback of a document downloaded complete with media 
items impossible.

Does anyone have any ideas on other possible workarounds? RealNetworks
has a solution for this problem with their .ram filetype, in which
only URLs are listed (the user clicks the .ram URL, a tiny file is
downloaded, and this contains the URLs of the actual .smil or .ra or
whatever files, and relative urls in these now work as expected), and
this looks like a reasonable solution but I'd like something a bit
more standard. Is there something like an XML indirection (
<meta name="indirect" value="real-url"/> would do the trick)? Any
other ideas?

Jack Jansen             | ++++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ++++
Jack.Jansen@cwi.nl      | ++++ if you agree copy these lines to your sig ++++
http://www.cwi.nl/~jack | see http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm 
Received on Monday, 2 November 1998 17:45:27 UTC

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