The Object of Discussion

There is an interesting conversation brewing over on dive into mark about object and Internet Explorer. Mark’s problem comes from IE’s poor support for the object tag. object was added to the HTML 4.0 specification to provide a method of including a wide array of media types into a web document. Unfortunately, Microsoft has been sluggish to provide proper support for this tag.

But the saga doesn’t end there. Other browsers support this tag in different ways. One person noted this issue in Opera:

Opera appears to handle all objects like plugins, even those that are handled internally (and thus cannot be disabled by disabling plugins!).

And, according to an anonymous comment, Mozilla appears to not completely render the object beyond displaying the image:

I’m wondering why I can select the IMG one, but not the OBJECT one (in Mozilla 1.3). If I paste it in Word for example, the Img is pasted as image, the Object is pasted as HTML code. So it’s not quite all right in Mozilla neither I think.

I for one would love to see browsers come out with reliable support for this highly versatile tag. Robin Lionheart has an object test page which also shows some very interesting ways of using the object tag, such as providing layered, alternate content in the case of a lack of support for the primary content. In doing so you can provide varying levels of content and the browser “chooses” which one it can handle.

But alas, developers are hampered by poor browser support and as such are kept from providing, to their readers, a highly usable interface.

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