The Internet Will End on April 11

Raven

The Internet Will End on April 11

At least that’s what Microsoft would have you believe.

Tuesday, during a conference call with industry leaders, Microsoft announced its plans to ship an update to Internet Explorer which will change the way the browser handles embedded content — specifically, plugins like Flash, Windows Media, Adobe Reader, and Java. The changes come from their recent patent lawsuit loss with Eolas, which claimed Microsoft’s method for handling browser plugins infringed on their patent.

The changes to Internet Explorer will require web developers to completely rewrite the way they use embedded content across all of their websites. Once the update ships on April 11, websites which have not updated their code won’t display the content correctly until users manually click and activate each instance on the page individually, every time they view the page. Ouch.

So what exactly needs to be rewritten? Every <object> and <embed> tag. Instead of writing

     <object classid="clsid:02BF25D5..." ...>
          <param name="src" value="sample.mov">
     </object>

you would replace that with the following Javascript function

     function InsertSampleMovie()
     {
          document.write('<object classid="clsid: 02BF25D5..." ...>\n');
          document.write('<param name="src" value="sample.mov" />\n');
          document.write('</object>\n');
     }

Simple, eh? Right.

Primarily, this is going to affect web developers living in the Flash camp. Websites which rely heavily on Flash or are 100% Flash are going to require a lot of maintenance work. Just think. How long would it take you to update every website you’ve built for every one of your clients?

Never before have web standards been so important. Web developers who build their sites using CSS, Javascript, and XHTML are going to come to work on April 11 just like any other day. Developers who build websites entirely in Flash won’t come to work at all on April 11 — they’ll still be there from the night before.

Here at Sitening, I’m proud to say we design all of our websites according to web standards so they’re viewable on any browser on any platform. We even made a tool to analyze your website. Come April 11, I may just sleep in an extra hour.

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