[thelist] Hey, Flash experts...some questions

John Dowdell jdowdell at adobe.com
Fri Jan 6 15:02:31 CST 2006

Tom Dell'Aringa wrote:
> how easy is it to do a form partially in HTML and partially in Flash?

It depends on the browser. With techniques actually used today it 
*should* be pretty reliable across the range of common browsers, but if 
your audience chooses a minority configuration then it would be 
worthwhile to doublecheck.

Here's a rough chronology of approaches:

(1)  Netscape 3.0 introduced a means of JavaScript/applet/plugin 
intercommunication, called LiveConnect.
      IE/Win 4.0 (?) introduced a parallel means of 
JScript/VBScript/ActiveX intercommunication, called ActiveX Scripting.
      Macromedia Shockwave and Flash supported both immediately, but to 
handle both Plugin- and Control-communication required dual 
browserscripts, as well as much testing, and then there were other 
browsers which never supported this at all. Progress was fitful.

(2)  During the past eight years people have tried plugin-to-browser 
communication through "javascript:" pseudo-URLs, but support again 
varied by the browser. For browser-to-plugin communication people tried 
things such as hidden frames, server data requests, more. Still messy... 
here's an older survey of browser differences:

(3)  A year or two ago there was mention of a new, third, LiveConnect 
implementation (after NS3 and early Moz implementations), which would be 
supported by other browsers such as Safari and Opera. I haven't heard 
much news on this yet.

(4)  These days, most people seem happy using the Flash/JavaScript 
Integration Kit which Mike Chambers and Christian Cantrell put together. 
It uses "javascript:" pseudo-URLs and a hidden DIV refresh, combined 
with Flash's localConnection, to do browser-to-plugin and 
plugin-to-browser communication respectively. (Many of the browsers 
which balked at js pseudo-URLs from plugins have now passed on.) Check 
these links:

Summary: People *are* doing plugin/browser intercommunication now, but 
it's still more work to develop in multiple engines than a single 
engine. If relying on undocumented browser behavior then please be sure 
to check the project across the range of browsers your audience might be 


John Dowdell . Adobe Developer Support . San Francisco CA USA
Weblog: http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd
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