Yesterday, just about everybody in the industry received a press release from the very nice people of Bare Bones Software regarding a new AppleScript of theirs. Yes, an AppleScript, you read well. What does this script do? Attempt to solve one of the largest pains for web developers related to embedding rich content to a page.
As some of you may recall, it was announced a few months ago that Internet Explorer would stop handling content embedded in pages through the “Applet”, “Embed” and “Object” elements. What does it do, then? It displays a dialog whose main aim is to help Microsoft circumvent patents held by another company. It’s a very long, convoluted story that turned out to be quite revealing of the inner workings of the industry — but its details are beyond the scope of our entry here.
Obviously, this change raised a great many fears among the web development community. For Apple, it meant QuickTime would no longer play “smoothly”, falsely leading users to believe there was something dangerous with the plugin — since, to most people, seeing a dialog immediately raises big bright red flags. For site developers, it meant any pretense of seamless interactivity was pretty much ruined. For a while, indeed, you would have thought the world was about to crumble, just looking at the gazillion articles published on the topic.
As with everything making the headlines, it had almost no impact so far. The Internet is still here, still working as poorly as it always does. We would not want however to be caught editors down, so to speak, as it is difficult to predict whether, one day, this issue will start stirring real trouble or not. Updating is, therefore, the sensible conduct.
It turns out one of the best QuickTime-related articles was published by Apple on the ADC Website. In fact, I have read this one dozens of times, falling into a semi-coma after the first paragraph. No offense at all meant to the author of this note: it is beautiful, the suggested code works like a charm and, for having put it to good use a great many times for our clients, we can attest it is, indeed, widely compatible and transparent. No matter how good the writers however, one has to admit the topic is less than thrilling.
Of course, I would like to see this added to BBEdit as a native function or, at least, bundled in the application’s scripts menu. Anything that needs to be downloaded extra is, as we know, tucked well into the shadow — or we would all be using Firefox, OmniWeb and Camino. There are also a great many issues this script doesn’t address such as other forms of embedded content — but then it isn’t meant to. All in all however, even if you do not have QuickTime content to update, I’d recommend giving it a look, for Otto’s sake.
Just a note: yes, it is free to download and no I do not get Mailshmith coupons to talk about this script. It’s just the kind of useful little side project I like to see shared and passed around.