MySpace changes their Flash/embed filtering again

January 18th, 2007 § 16 comments

Mashable reports on MySpace’s new <embed> tag changes. It looked like MySpace was disabling all embed tags, but it seems that they were rolling out this big change. It’s explained better in Chris Bennet’s comment to that post, which I reproduce below (I hope he doesn’t mind):

14. Chris Bennett – January 18, 2007

Before:
MySpace required embed tags to embed Flash content. The preferred method was to embed via the object tag, but that was completely stripped out by MySpace.

This morning:
MySpace began rolling out a change that would block embed tags, but allow object tags for embedded content. This caused some users to report stickers as “not working.”

This morning + n hours:
MySpace finished the change that converted a user’s embed tags to properly formatted object tags and therefore allowed.

Soon, all embedded objects on MySpace will be using object instead of embed. The previous restrictions such as “allownetworking = internal”, “allowScriptAccess = never”, “enableJSURL = false”, and “enableHREF = false” all remain. One new FlashVar I do not recognize is “saveEmbedTags = true” which is probably an internal flag to MySpace.

This is probably part of a larger, more-intelligent Flash filtering solution that would lend itself to a situation where MySpace acts as a gatekeeper to Flash stickers (as discussed).

I wrote about some of MySpace’s previous changes to embedding code in my old tech blog.

I am wondering about the possible technical implications of this change. According to Drew McLennan’s Flash Satay article, the form of the <object> tag that MySpace is using does not stream large Flash movies! To quote the article:

After testing with some largish movies, I noticed something amiss. While every other browser was getting it right, IE/Windows was not streaming—it was waiting for the entire movie to download before playing it. This is fine for small movies, but for anything serious, the lack of streaming is unacceptable.

I haven’t tested this to see if this is still true with the latest versions of IE6 and IE7. If so, this kind of sucks :( Progress bars will not work in such a world, unless everything is “satayed” as described in McLennan’s article.

I guess we shall see what other effects this might have, and what other changes MySpace might make in the near future. If the past is any indication, there will be zero official word from MySpace about this.

§ 16 Responses to MySpace changes their Flash/embed filtering again"

  • John Dowdell says:

    Howdy, I’m also unsure what the effect of OBJECT-only tagging would be across the range of today’s commonly-used browsers.

    That oddly-named “Flash Satay” article didn’t really test how consistently browsers back then handled plugins with OBJECT instead of EMBED. Dru’s main goal was to satisfy the W3C Validator routines, rather than to display something successfully out in the world. Geoff Stearns pulled together the actual side-effects in different browsers… summary and link here:
    http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd/archives/2005/06/browser_object.cfm

    IE/Win was always the browser that *wanted* OBJECT tags — Microsoft used this different tag instead of the EMBED that other browsers used, and later its fork was accepted by the W3C’s HTML 4.0 spec.

    Have we heard anything from anyone at MySpace yet? They should have the best idea of what they’re attempting to do…..

    jd/adobe

  • bunnyhero says:

    Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about Geoff Stearn’s research.

    The whole W3C/OBJECT issue is frustrating because despite OBJECT being “valid,” it’s EMBED that is rendered most consistently across browsers and across sites that allow widget embedding. Not only that, but the version of the OBJECT tag that is in the W3C spec isn’t the way that IE/Win prefers the OBJECT tag (i.e. with CLASSID and CODEBASE).

    Om Malik updated his post to report that Fox’s official word is: “The toll booth rumor is categorically untrue. We have no plans, current or future, to charge people for widgets. We are working on a filter for security reasons – so there may have been a bug due to that…if so, it’s fixed now and working – no more quicktime worm or flash probs from here on out.”

    I don’t know how using OBJECT instead of EMBED would make filtering any easier, but I do notice that the new transformation is much more sophisticated than any HTML filtering that MySpace has done before, in terms of text manipulation. In the past, their filtering seemed limited to simple replacements (e.g. changing certain tags to ‘..’, or adding attributes). The EMBED tag gets completely reformatted now when it converts to OBJECT. The PARAM tags are even indented! Perhaps whoever is coding the new HTML filter routines is also someone who likes W3C validators?

  • Ed says:

    I’m way behind, and this may not be interesting anymore, but I have seen several examples of Flash “loaders” that are small .swfs whose sole purpose is to load another (presumably bigger) .swf. As a result, the .swf loaded by MySpace is only a few K, and loads (and therefore plays) very quickly … Thus, you get “streaming” of big movies … despite the MySpace restrictions that limit control of content …

  • bunnyhero says:

    yup. that’s the “flash satay” method. i’d rather not have to use it because i find it rather hackish, and it basically doubles the number of HTTP requests to my servers…

  • ajmetz says:

    Is this really happening?
    I embed RealPlayer on my MySpace page, and I’m finding both embed and object tags automatically replaced with “..”
    To me, it seems both object and embed are currently banned.
    Do you believe this is likely to change?
    I really want me Gilles Peterson radio stream back. =P

  • bunnyhero says:

    ajmetz, it appears that flash is the only embed they are allowing now. i know that quicktime is blocked, and based on your experience, it seems realplayer is blocked as well. i originally wrote a post about this but i got some details wrong…

  • jon says:

    I’ve also found that for some reason, the way myspace changes the code prevents controls from showing for .flv. It seems like you can’t post any video unless it’s from YouTube or similar service. No quicktime, no flash video, no RealPlayer.

    Really disappointing. I have to post to YouTube and then link from there if I want to post something original. Cumbersome to say the least.

    If I’m wrong, I’d love to know the work around.

  • dmonkeyjazz says:

    Hey guys,

    Very interesting blog you have here !
    I’ve been exxperimenting a little with flash, myspace and all sorts of code to connect them… check out my site… http://www.dmonkeyjazz.be

    I wanted to copy my site, exactly like it is onto my myspace profile, Now I understand that there are loads of restrictions, so the swf file on the myspace server can’t connect with mine, this is a petty because I use a lot of external text files to be loaded into my swf…

    The question I would like to get answered is, is there a way to at least make my playlist.xml file load, so that my Radio can do what it was intended for??

    Hope you understand all this… kind of hard for me to explain all this in english, also because I merely understand half of what I’m saying myself…

    anyways, hope to hear from you !

    signing out

    D

  • The H1VE says:

    Well am not sure if this helps any of you but i have media player embedded into my myspace profile take a look http://www.myspace.com/theh1ve i wanted to get my fave online radio station to play in my profile rather than have that stupid flash player that gives you the same track every time you view my page. Nothing to it really however I’ve not seen it done on any other profiles (apart from those that i have told) so maybe I’m the only one that has stumbled across a solution. Also as well as audio streams you can actually stream video too. Hope this helps some of you.

  • Dempsie says:

    I don’t get it to be honest… I have a flash-based app on myspace that will not link to another page but will allow emails to be sent from it… maybe this is a way around the block???

    http://www.myspace.com/dirtdigitaltv

    Could anyone point me in the direction of a tutorial on how to do this email thing in flash thanks!

  • Dempsie says:

    Okay okay…. I found this on myspace that seemed to be working… oddly it worked in a comment that the person had left but not in her profile??? Here’s the code she used…

    object type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://void.snocap.com/s/T3-31324-2ZN3N32MNU-E/” height=”300″ width=”425″>

  • phil says:

    Dempsie – Snocap cut an official deal with MySpace

  • Hi Everyone.
    I found this blog while looking for a way to embed a MySpace player into another website (for someone else, I don’t have an artist profile) I too have had problems with Myspace code stripping. My online stationhas had a player for about 18 months on Myspace but I’ve given up on updating the ’embed’ (for Firefox) with my player.
    I was spending a couple of hours each time finding a workaround for it, only to have it killed again a few days later when the goalposts moved.
    I gave up on embedding for Firefox & added a popup player instead. Not ideal since so many users have them blocked due to abuse by idiots, but it at least allows me to deliver the content which is what the page is for really.

    I’m guessing by the way this thread was left for so long that none of you found a good cross browser solution either.

    The one good thing about using the popup solution though is that it’s totally universal. If I can place a link somewhere, I can add the player even here:
    http://www.revolutionstation.org/myspace-player.html

    Of course, they’re linkjacking now too, by changing all those links to msplinks.com redirects, they’re robbing us all of inbound links and the resulting SEO benefits.

    Just thought I’d mention it, might ba solution for some of you or maybe get you thinking laterally to find a way round these obstacles they create.

    All the best.

    Mike.

  • Matt says:

    hi everyone, i have a simple solution to all your myspace coding problems, you can view my profile at “myspace.com/mattdonnan”. if you have a large flash movie you would like to preload your best bet is an external preloader, mite i suggest using a program called ‘swf lock n load’. if you are looking to have an mp3 player on myspace chances are you will only need one track, a great way is to use the flash ‘media playback’ component. in the options set it from flv to mp3 and type in the url of the song, as this is all coded my macromedia the file itself it small enough to load instantly and it has a built in buffer bar etc. let me know what you think of these ideas by email – mjdonnan@blueyonder.co.uk

  • doug says:

    has anyone found out how to get the FLV player controls to work again? I have an FLV player I wrote in flash and it works fine on a regular web page, but when I embed it into myspace, it plays, but the play,stop,ffwd,rwd controls are all missing!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks,
    Doug

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