Anne van Kesteren

XHTML and Flash

That combination is deprecated if you ask me (thanks Eolas). The only method to embed Flash and make it compatible with lots of browsers is by using document.write. The 'appropriate' alternate method would be by using the DOM, which is supported in XML (is it build for it). I tested this, but it is not supported in Opera (Opera doesn't even support scripting when sending a document as application/xhtml+xml, something you would expect from a browser, which is not open-source and not world-dominating...). I made two tests using the DOM and HTML4.01 Strict. Both work in Mozilla. One works in IE and none of them works in Opera (I got a crash actually, in the first release of Opera 7.2):

  1. Embedding Flash using the embed element.
  2. The same, but this I used the Flash satay method (A List Apart: Flash Satay).

If it doesn't work with the Document Object Model, we need to use document.write. Peter-Paul Koch came to same conclusion as me.

If we can only use the document.write solution for commercial websites (websites like this one ignore IE users almost completely :)) I think those websites should be written in valid HTML and not in XHTML, since you have lost the forward compatibility of XHTML by using document.write, document can't be served as application/xhtml+xml anymore and then I have agree with Ian Hixie. Besides, document.write does only work in XHTML, 'cause browsers 'load there HTML engine' if I am not mistaken. That's why you should use HTML (or you could use one of my methods...).

What is your opinion about this? If I am completely wrong, I would like to know that!


  1. There is always the option to do nothing. Just to keep on coding as before. And I think that is the case for everybody at the present time. Remember Microsoft may still have the courts overturn the decision in the Eolas case. They might actually cough up the license fee, okay, that's not very likely. But the thing is is that we don't know what going to happen. Any suggested fix is merely based on conjecture and assumption of what will hapen.

    Coming up with ways around the problem is a useful exercise. But we must remember that these are not real world problems as of yet. And may never be.

    So when does it become a problem that we can't afford not to deal with? In my view that would only occur when Eolas have there original dicision upheld and that the number of uses affected by the altered version of IE reach sufficient numbers. That could be years away. By the time that happens Longhorn may have been released. And due to having the browser built into the OS Microsoft may have found away to circumvent the Eolas patent by then.

    Just a thought.

    Posted by Egor Kloos at

  2. Well, I must say you have a point here, but Microsoft already released a 'patched version' of IE. I know it is beta, but when it is released the problem is there I think.

    Though you could be right that not so many people will upgrade. Guess we just have to wait, you can't solve everything :).

    Posted by Anne at

  3. Well, I am in the do nothing camp and will remain so unless I personally receive significant negative feedback; assuming that Micro$oft makes the decision not to appeal against the decision for its next Operating System Enhancement

    Posted by Robert Wellock at