ActiveX Alert with the QuickTime Plugin

Microsoft recently released a patch that changes the way Internet Explorer handles ActiveX plugins. This was to dodge patent infringement allegations from Eolas. Even more recently Microsoft released another patch to undo this, but with a promise that it will be permanent in future revisions and most certainly in IE 7, whenever that’s released.

The most important part about this change is that it effects a vast majority of Internet users, and in a rather annoying way. If the patch is applied IE will show a prompt every time it encounters a ActiveX plugin. This means, every Flash file, every QuickTime movie, anything that uses ActiveX controls, will see this alert or at the least require two clicks to activate its interface.

I think it has gone largely unnoticed for several reasons:
1. Many people don’t actually run Windows Update, of if they happen to they only grab the urgent updates and ignore the rest.
2. Some sites may have already implemented workarounds.
3. Developers forget to test in IE.
4. IE/Windows alerts are so frequent that people can’t help but dismiss them without reading.

After a bit of searching I came across a helpful Apple page on how to embed QuickTime into a page without causing these alerts, and as an added bonus the code lets the page validate as XHTML without any ugly hacks.

So much for the object tag being the solution to all problems.

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