Macromedia Support

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-07-02 Print this article Print

The effort requires the cooperation of both browser makers and plug-in builders, which will need to support the new extension. No date was set for when software plug-ins would begin supporting the new API. Macromedia, for example, is committed to including it in future releases of Flash, said Jeff Whatcott, vice president of product management at the San Francisco company. He declined to provide a timeline. The API extension will help developers more easily support a range of Web browsers, he said. "Now, with these changes, we can have a consistent developer experience across all those technologies," he said.
Developers still will need to create a different set of plug-in interaction scripts for IE, which uses ActiveX, than for the coalition of rival browsers, Whatcott said. Baker said Microsoft would be welcome to support the new scriptability extension for IE, though the Redmond, Wash., software maker was not invited to participate. Microsoft officials declined to comment. Microsoft IE holds a strong grasp on the browser market with a 94 percent share, according to data from analytics vendor But its rivals have made some headway in gaining converts. A series of security issues dogging IE recently prompted the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team to suggest the use of an alternative browser as one way to avoid potential problems. Mozilla officials said they have already noticed an increase in downloads of its Firefox browser, though Microsoft on Friday released a new patch for IE. Click here to read about how Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols plans to steer clear of IE. Last year, Apple entered the browser market when it began shipping Safari with the Mac OS X. That move prompted Microsoft to end future development of IE for the Mac. Baker said that by working together on new functionality such as the plug-in API extension, IE rivals are making sure that the alternative browser market remains vital. "Obviously, an alternative browser is critical, and last week has shown us that there are pretty significant vulnerabilities in the dominant browser," Baker said. "In terms of plug-ins, when people go to get Mozilla or Firefox, we want them to have the best possible experience, and part of that is a richer plug-in API." Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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