Judicial decision may impact the use of plugins in browser

August 28th, 2003 § 1 comment § permalink

In recent news, a federal jury ruled that Microsoft violated a patent held by a company named Eolas regarding a mechanism for embedding objects within hypertext documents, which directly impacts the plugin technology used by Internet Explorer — and most other visual browsers in use today. In a official note released by the W3C — of which Microsoft is a member — the company has indicated it will soon make changes in its browser to comply with the ruling. Understandly, the W3C has invited all its members for an ad hoc meeting to discuss the potential impact of the ruling for the Web and to take any decisions concerning it.

I think it strange that Microsoft lost the case. I doubt no prior art exists for such technology — especially considering that the patent was granted to Eolas in 1998, when HTML was very well established and already supported the object tag, which implements said technology. In any case, the W3C is meeting, and a decision should be announced soon.

It will be interesting to see how the other companies and groups developing Web browsers will react to the news. I’m particularly interested in the responses of the open source community.

Anyway, I just wonder why Microsoft didn’t simply buy Eolas and its patent. It would probably be far more easier, and would also give them a good advantage. However, worst of all is to think of the technological cluelessness of the jury and judge that allowed such ruling.

Understanding accessibility

August 14th, 2003 § Comments Off § permalink

One of the hardest things for Web developers to do when building or designing a site is to put themselves in the shoes of people suffering from some kind of disability and think about the site’s accessibility.

Dave Shea, of CSS Zen Garden fame, points to an excellent demonstration of how simple design decisions can cause major problems for disabled people (even for people with small disabilities). It’s a good way to see how one must think about the issues involved. The demonstration also shows how some of the problems can be solved.

Notepad popups

August 8th, 2003 § 2 comments § permalink

Simon Willison points to another ridiculous IE vulnerability: Notepad popups.

As he says, things like that remind us how Mozilla Firebird is much better than Internet Explorer.

Implementing SCORM: Advantages and Disadvantages

August 7th, 2003 § 9 comments § permalink

Continuing my ongoing series about the implementation of the SCORM standard in a LMS, this entry discusses some of the standard’s advantages and disadvantages. The entry limits itself to presenting the difficulties found in the implementation without detailing how they were solved. So it’s more of an introduction to the issues involved in the implementation. In the next entries I will explain specific details about the solutions I devised for some of those problems.

» Read the rest of this entry «

New Google Operator

August 4th, 2003 § 2 comments § permalink

Google has introduced a new query operator to further aid in searches: the ~ operator. When placed in front of a word, it searches for the word and its synonyms (see browser ~help, for an example). Apparently it only works for queries in English now, but knowing the way Google works it will certainly be added to other languages soon. Very neat!

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