• United States

Scripting headaches

Mar 05, 20043 mins
Data Center

After posting the Basic Wireless LAN Security audio primer last Sunday night, I realized during testing that the scripting method we use for getting the slides to rotate in the browser window some how broke. Instead of the slides rotating in the same window (as happened with previous primers) they each opened in a new window. I checked previous primers and found the same problem. Doh! My suspicion is something changed in the way IE 6.0 and Windows Media 9 interoperate.

I dug around the Microsoft Knowledge base and came up with this potential fix: there’s away to append a frame name on to the end of a the URL being called by the Windows Media file. Turns out, the same method can be used to call to a separate Window. (And thankfully, I had named the window created when the primer launches, even though we never referred to the name until now.)

While looking up this problem, I also discovered a new tag that can go into an ASX metafile: . A BASE tag lets you specify the location of your slides so all you have to refer to in the Windows Media or ASF file is the name of the slide file itself. This way, if you move your slides to another directory, you just change the ASX file and not the actual media file. In the few years we’ve been doing these primers I’ve never moved any slide files but I figured this could be a nice future-proofing feature.

So I put a BASE tag in the new primer’s ASX file and append the window name to the URL calls in the Windows Media audio file, post everything up and give it a fly. Bingo! Worked perfectly. At least on my Windows 2000 and XP machines, both running Windows Media 9 and IE 6. When I tested it out on a random machine at work (the public machine in our lobby) the slide changing mechanism didn’t work. It seems as if older versions of Windows Media player (6.4 in this case) do not support the BASE tag, so all I got was a bunch of page not found errors. Fortunately, removing the BASE tag and putting the full URL back in the Windows Media file (along with the appended window name) worked.

As an added bonus, the slides always appear in the correct window. Previously, they’d appear in the IE browser window that had the current focus. So if a viewer clicked on to something else, the next slide could appear in a random window. The new method ensures they pop up in the right place at the right time.