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RE: Eolas vs. <object>

From: Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 22:37:30 -0400
Message-ID: <1835D662B263BC4E864A7CFAB2FEEB3D258BC5@msfexch01.srunet.sruad.edu>
To: "Jeff Schiller" <codedread@gmail.com>, <public-html@w3.org>

On Tue 4/17/2007 4:35 PM Jeff Schiller wrote:

>I haven't heard this discussed yet here, but will <object> in the
>markup ever actually be feasible now that Microsoft lost the Eolas
>case?  I mean using <object> for "plugin" type material of course and
>not stuff most browsers can handle natively.

I share your concern here, Jeff, and will be anxious to hear what folks have to say. Karl Dubost's response [1], has some interesting material, including what I assume is the Eolas patent application itself, as well as some of the W3C history and prehistory surrounding how things like <img> and <object> came to exist. I don't see anything there though that addresses your other questions.

>Workarounds right now force people to use script to add an <object>
>element directly into the DOM.

And as I am sure you know, <object> does not work currently as a vehicle for embedding SVG content into web pages in Internet Explorer (because of a security problem in the Adobe plugin). The W3C standards do not support either <embed> or <iframe> for this purpose, effectively meaning SVG support is currently rather broken from a standards perspective.

In order to do certain things in HTML (like make it able to run general purpose applications), SVG is seemlingly required to be present. (like for example animating the rotation of a table or image) [2]  without resorting to some rather nonstandard browser-specific techniques -- I seem to recall doing some funky IE things a few years back involving obscure CSS like

style="position:absolute; top=55; left=300;  filter:Wave(Add=false, Freq=1, LightStrength=10, Phase=1, Strength=0); " 


I rather doubt that this made it to the CSS standards, but then that is just a hunch, given how infrequently one sees such things deployed.

Of course some might argue that HTML has no business doing client-side graphics to begin with. And then others would like to see it grow a wee bit in this direction. 

>Out of curiosity, did Microsoft invent the <object> element in the
>first place?  If not, why was Microsoft sued and not W3C or other
>browser makers? 

No as per Karl's response [1].

> I guess the reality is they got a free pass because
>they don't have Microsoft's deep pockets?

That's the word on the street. I assume it is part of why Chris says "the system [of software patents] is completely broken." Many folks who are not always Microsoft enthusiasts seem to agree rather wholeheartedly. 

>Seems like the Eolas patent definitely has some implications for
>future versions of HTML (in terms of plugin support), but IANAL


David Dailey

[1] - http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Apr/1086.html

[2] - http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007JanMar/0494.html

[3]- http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Apr/0302.html

[4] - http://srufaculty.sru.edu/david.dailey/javascript/ani/waves.html
Received on Wednesday, 18 April 2007 02:37:32 UTC

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