Flash movie won't play completely inside frameset on IE8
August 24, 2009 11:38 PM   Subscribe

Flash gurus, HTML developers and XP know-it-alls: I need your help! Flash, framesets and IE8 are not getting along at all. A framed site using Flash works on my desktop, where I still have IE6 running on XP SP3, but not on my XP SP3 laptop with IE8. Whether or not I can make it work in IE8, I still need to demo this site on something that works. If I can't make this work by noon Tuesday, I'm going to have to use my restore disks to return my laptop to its original XP Pro condition so I can at least use IE6 on it. Help me figure out a way to avoid a complete restore in the short run and make this work on IE8 in the long run!

A colleague (who is out of town and can't be reached) has built a Flash movie that is embedded within an HTML page. It works perfectly in IE6, which is the browser a client has used for years, but they are thinking of migrating to IE8 as long as their old content will still work there without too much tinkering.

While a lot of old Flash files we've created work well in IE8, even in framesets, my colleague's Flash file displays properly in IE8 only when its HTML shell is loaded directly in the browser. If the page is put inside a frameset (as will be required for the final form of this project) only the first few frames of the Flash play. When I right click and choose Play, those first few frames play again, but that's it.

My successful Flash files and the colleague's balky Flash file use the same Publish settings (AS2, Flash 8 player). His file uses scenes to divide content, with a stop() command and a named anchor at the beginning of each scene. This first anchor is the precise point where the movie stops politely when loaded within its shell, but where it disappears in a flash of white when viewed within a frameset.

Is the anchor the likely problem? Is this fixable, or would I have to restructure the file to avoid anchors completely? Or is there something else going on?

It's late and I'm exhausted and probably missing something important. I will welcome support, good questions, questioning of my premises, and being called a dumbass, as long as I can somehow get this working.
posted by wexford_arts to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
IE8 introduced a "compatibility" mode. You can turn it on by clicking a button that looks like a ripped piece of paper, up top, next to the "reload" button and the "stop loading" button. Choosing that may make it work.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:47 PM on August 24, 2009

Microsoft also makes Virtual PC images of older versions of IE available for download... they have expiration dates, but for the short term they should be okay.
posted by curse at 12:32 AM on August 25, 2009

Does the Flash interact with some JavaScript or load external resources? Seems vaguely feasible that there could be a change in security restrictions in some situations.

Also make sure both the framing and framed pages have the same DOCTYPE and compatibility mode (if any), it seems possible the framed page could be handled differently in the two situations by the browser if there's an odd mismatch.

As with any mysterious glitch, you need to follow a sensible process of elimination. So progressively strip things out until you either find the problem disappears or you end up with a minimal example consisting of a few simple files including a virtually empty SWF.
(If you've already done this, put the files online and give us the URL)
posted by malevolent at 1:01 AM on August 25, 2009

How is the swf embedded? Try using a javascript method like swfobject.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:02 AM on August 25, 2009

It looks as if compatibility mode will require that I have the file on a server rather than testing locally, but I'll check again. One possible issue that we are potentially looking at a situation where the entire user base would have to switch to compatibility mode to make it work with their copies of IE8.

Sorry, Virtual PC is a good idea for the future, but it's not something I have installed now.

I checked the DOCTYPES, and they all seem to match. I'm pulling out things bit by bit, and it really does look as if anchors might be the culprit, which is kind of good news, except that we might be looking at some serious Flash editing time to get the full functionality that was originally there.

I've tried both generic embed code and swfobject and they both fail with the problem file.

These are all good ideas, thanks, and some things I might look at for the future, but I may have to fight with this some more. Might get a nap this afternoon.
posted by wexford_arts at 8:03 AM on August 25, 2009

I came to also recommend Virtual PC. It doesn't take long to download on a broadband connection, is free, has the mentioned XP images with different versions of IE that are also free and is very easy to set up. I use it at work for testing in different versions of IE.

Unless your net connection is crap, downloading and setting this up seems easier than restoring your laptop.
posted by utsutsu at 8:46 AM on August 25, 2009

Thanks for all the advice, even though I can't mark this as resolved just yet. I'm still having issues with IE8, but as the client has decided to stay with IE6 for another year, we have some time to work on this.

The Virtual PC looks even better, now that I've had some sleep, so I'll be installing it and using it as much as possible when developing from now on.
posted by wexford_arts at 5:09 PM on August 28, 2009

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