Using Flash? Check out FlashObject...

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Posted at 13:30 on 04 April 2006

If you are using Flash animations in your website, you should check out Geoff Stearns's FlashObject. It neatly works around the problems that will arise in the Internet Explorer updates that have been introduced in the light of the Eolas/Microsoft patent dispute.

It also has several other advantages over the standard way of embedding Flash using <object> and <embed> tags in your web pages:

  1. It is standards compliant, so your HTML/XHTML pages will validate. (<embed> isn't.)
  2. It downgrades gracefully, as the Javascript swaps out some existing content in your web page.
  3. It is syntactically clearer and easier to read than the conventional way of putting an <embed> tag within an <object> tag in your pages, and hunting around for those long, arcane and easy to mis-type GUIDs.

I must say I take my hat off to Dr Michael Doyle of Eolas. Taking on Microsoft and winning is no mean feat, especially when you consider that in legal disputes such as this it's usually a case of simply spending the other side to death. However, it still illustrates the whole lunacy of the American software patent system. As one Slashdot commenter said, "Are we for Microsoft because we hate software patents, or are we for Eolas because we hate Microsoft?"