W3C Compliance & Macromedia Flash

    November 15, 2005

Remember the “Good Housekeeping Seal?”

W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium seal of quality assurance for your website, providing guidelines to insure your website will look and function properly, regardless of the browser, resolution or device that you use. In other words it assures your website is clean of bugs and glitches and can be successfully listed on all search engines.

Everyone needs a properly functioning web site that performs well in the SERP’s (search engine result pages) for business practices. According to the SEO experts at Beanstock, many examples of their sites perform better after they were brought into compliance with W3C standards

After reading the above mentioned article I decided to do some light housekeeping on our own website http://www.ValorCrossMedia.com. It was time to dust off the cobwebs and bring it up to W3C compliance standards to enhance SERP performance.

Valor Cross Media specializes in Creative Web Services such as Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Marketing and Flash Video presentations for the web so SERP performance is a top priority for our business.

To my surprise it was easier said than done. I could not validate our home page for hours.

HAH!’ I thought. I have 15+ years of design experience, 10 exclusively online, so I should be able to do this. After all, it is only cleaning up the markup, changing some attributes, right?’

It was back to the drawing board and a few hours on Google doing research.

I finally came up with an article titled “Flash Satay: Embedding Macromedia Flash While Supporting Standards.” on Macromedia.com.

“Flash Satay’s” author Drew McLellan, in an article originally published in “A List Apart” writes, “embed” is not part of the XHTML specification and will prevent your page from validating. It is used by Netscape and similar browsers for displaying Flash movies. Parameters are passed within the element as name/value attribute pairs.”

McLellan goes on to say, “Netscape created the “embed” tag as a way to embed plug-ins and players in web pages. The “embed” tag is not part of the XHTML specification, and although some browsers other than Netscape do support it, it’s not compliant with the standards, so you shouldn’t use it.”

O.K,’ I thought, So there are some obstacles, but we’re getting closer to solving the problem. Our home page contains an embedded Macromedia Flash movie. The solution is to clean the markup and change some attributes.’

In a follow up to the Flash Satay article McLellan also states:

“Flash has built in security measures which make life really tough. If the Flash player thinks the movie is being loaded from a different domain to that of the page in which it is embedded, it gives up and does nothing. It would also seem that it’s very easy to confuse the Flash player into thinking that this is the case. Flasher, beware!”

Hours later after cleaning up the markup and changing attributes, I thought my page was finally ready to be validated for W3C compliance. I found it worked fine in Netscape and Mozilla but when I tried it in Internet Explorer (IE) it stopped dead in its tracks.

Was it a security measure in the Flash Player that stopped the movie or the Internet Explorer setting up rules of their own?

All of a sudden memories of Netscape vs. IE back in the early 90s, when I started out as a web designer, flashed through my mind. Remember how CSS was only viewable in IE back then?

I decided that until the browsers, Macromedia and Microsoft, decide to play together I had better find a creative solution to get the job done.

I dusted off an old browser detection and redirection script found on NetMechanic.com that simply detects the browser and redirects your page. The script is useful when you modify it to redirect users to a page optimized for their particular browsers. While you’ll have to spend time optimizing your individual pages for different browsers, the script itself is very easy.

Finally, I created two separate pages; one optimized for IE, which is validated with the W3C seal for CSS and a second page optimized for browsers like Netscape, Mozilla, etc. to be validated for the XHTML specifications which they support. The java script detects the browser and redirects to an appropriate page. To see an example of this, try opening www.ValorCrossMedia.com in Mozilla browser and then try it in IE. You will see the difference in the seal underneath the Flash movie, though the pages remain the same.

The best part is they are both W3C compliant.

If you have comments, suggestions or creative solutions of your own in reference to this article please drop us a note or visit our blog http://www.valorcrossmedia.com/blogger.html

Galina Arlov is a E-Business Professional with 15+years work experience working for Fortune 400 companies like Disney, Priceline, ABC and more. She is a founder and owner of Valor Cross Media a Creative Web Site Design Services company located on Upper East Side in New York City Where Substance Supports Style.

For comments or questions about this article contact galina@ValorCrossMedia.com or visit http://www.ValorCrossMedia.com