[whatwg] Proposal: @srctype or @type on <iframe>

Gordon P. Hemsley gphemsley at gmail.com
Tue Jul 13 00:45:55 PDT 2010

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 3:26 AM, Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky at mit.edu> wrote:
> On 7/12/10 11:31 PM, Gordon P. Hemsley wrote:
>> The particular use case that prompted me to think about this is
>> including a PDF via <iframe>. In Firefox (last I checked), one is
>> required to install a separate add-on in order to support in-browser
>> display of PDF files on Mac OS X, since there is no native or integrated
>> Adobe Reader support available.
> I'm pretty sure you can install the Adobe Reader plug-in on Mac if you want
> to.

Perhaps now, but that wasn't always the case—at least not for Firefox.
I admit that my experience is somewhat outdated. Installing the
third-party PDF viewer add-on is one of the first things I did, in a
"set it and forget it" kind of way. (Plus, I'm still on Tiger.)

But, again, the PDF example was just one possible use case. I'm sure
there are plenty of other file types that cause similar situations,
including the TIFF issue that I mentioned.

>> Without the add-on, the user will be prompted to download the PDF file
> Which is exactly what would happen for a type="application/pdf" iframe, no?
>  Silently not showing the content doesn't seem acceptable.
> -Boris
Well, the idea is to have the browser operate more intelligently than
that. The page in the iframe is (by definition) not the primary
document that the user is trying to load, so it shouldn't have the
power steal the user's attention immediately upon page load. It would
be very disorienting, and would likely cause the user to lose their
train of thought.

I was thinking more along the lines of Flashblock does or what happens
when the window in an <iframe> can't load: The content would be
replaced somehow by a message and a button/link to allow the user to
manually download the contents of the iframe, if they so choose. It
shouldn't make that decision for the user, as it's not the user's
fault that their browser does not support the format of some ancillary

At least, that's how I see it.


Gordon P. Hemsley
me at gphemsley.org

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