Dark times are ahead for browser users and even more for website developers.

As the base technology for browser plugin detection needs to be removed from Internet Explorer (still representing about 95% from al web users), the browser seems to bee cut back to its early ages.

What’s this all about?

In a recent ruling a federal judge order Microsoft to remove the technology to automatically detect browser plugins from its software as the technology would have been stolen from Eolas.

This meens that after a final ruling, which is expected to be somewhere in october or november, Microsoft will have to release an *updated* browser without this technology within 30 days, meaning before the end of the year. And this means that if everybody *upgrades* their browser, nobody would be able to automatically view those nifty Flash animations (games and ads, but als complete websites driven by Flash technology) or view PDF documents, Word documents, Excel data, or whatever they view inside their browser that is not plain HTML, without noting it.

As browsers were originally built to browse websites that were built with HTML, web technology and browsers improved to display more publication formats and to allow more interactivity between end user, websites and other users. But that’s all over now.

Except for the inconvinience for the end user, it means that every web developer, yes EVERY WEB DEVELOPER, who trusted on the browser to seamlessly display their ‘exotic’ content, has to update his site(s) to implement a workaround. That’s why Macromedia organised a meeting with the W3C, Microsoft and other important players on the browser market to discuss the situation and investigate the implications and possible solutions.

One strategy is to use scripting to launch external applications, another is to place a dialog box between the selection and the viewing of the applet, and Microsoft has also some other possibilites. But all of these break current user experience and shoots us right back to 1993, not talking breaking web sites that companies rely on and could result in loss of income, or even worse, bankrupcy, and website owners and developers who have to implement workarounds for their site to be compatible with the *new* browsers of the (past) future.

All of these don’t apply if you used the web standards and nothing but the web standards like HTML, XML, XHTML, ECMA JavaScript, DOM, CSS, … which should be every web developers first concern.

The patent fight that could disrupt the Internet

Saving the Browser