[thelist] IE update

the head lemur headlemur at lemurzone.com
Wed Oct 8 11:25:20 CDT 2003

> How does the alert prevent the use of patented plugin technology?

In short it doesn't.
What it does do is endrun the Direct running of bits and pieces, which is
what the patent was about.

Does this suck? For a lot of designers is surely does, as their work is
predicated on using image display/JavaScript/ActiveX in the case of some of
the weirder ways to get a webpage rendering. For companies who use the
browser to make their products work, it does. PDF, Flash, Java, certain
types of video and audio, etc.

In the short term, it will require a lot of sleepiness nights redesigning.
But then, none of the web Standards explicitly say that running these
technologies are part of the standards. There are methods and tags that are
used to call this stuff, in a standard method, but none of these
technologies are part of the standards. The overwhelming rejection by the
web community of proprietary technologies, leading to the defeat of the RAND
idea floated by the W3C a while back points out that while these methods and
tools can create some stunning effects, by in large they require
overhead/plugins/and a lot of overhead on the code end  to work. The also
fail if the user does not have these players installed or chooses not to use
them for whatever reason.

Of greater impact in the mid-term is whether or not the patent will be
overturned with examples of prior art, which is the only method available to
cause this to happen. If Microsoft doesn't have enough money to fight this
and win, the probability of it being ruled invalid is not good.

In the long term this is probably a good thing from a standards prospective,
as a lot of the various plugin software and techniques will have this
notification and surfers will have a choice in using it.These technologies
are enhancements and additional methods of transferring information, and
should be thought about in this way, and not used as a requirement for

Certain designers are howling and crying with this, as the power and control
is transferred back to the users. This will also impact Usability and
Information Architecture thinking in terms of having to determine if the use
of these technologies is necessary  to get any information displayed and
Other than technical brilliance the effect of using these methods in getting
the message understood is not a subject that can be discussed calmly.

One of the more significant things that has happened  is the speed at which
MS was able to produce a version of the browser that co-exists with the
current version, which was something MS has not done since they got into the
browser market. The IE compatibility mode browser doesn't count. This is
significant as this has been one of the premiere issues in the web community
for those designers who take the time to do cross browser compatibility

Whether or not Microsoft writes the 521 million dollar check will be a
footnote in the history of litigation, but represents a turning point in
thought for design for pixel mechanics.

the head lemur
News: http://www.lemurzone.com/news/
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