SwiftView Web Browser Integration
 

There are many ways to integrate SwiftView into information delivery systems made possible by SwiftView's unique command stream API, the Imaging Command Set (ICS). This page covers "web related" integration issues, including the web browser Plug-in, the IE ActiveX and Java. Click here for Win32 integration topics.

We spend a lot of time on integration issues but there are undoubtedly many excellent uses which are not clearly described here. If you want to do something you don't see here or just want to know if an approach makes sense, please don't hesitate to email us.


IE4+ ActiveX control

"Plug-in" operation on IE 4+ is actually implemented by the SwiftView ActiveX control which is internationalized. Starting with SwiftView Ver 5.1.2, this ActiveX control is also compatible with Visual C and Visual Basic which is discussed on the Win32 integration page. It is not known to function with any other ActiveX container and definitely does not support MS Office, for example.

Click here for a full IE ActiveX Interface Specification.


Plug-in

The SwiftView Plug-in is available on Win32 systems under Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox.

The Plug-in has a single button install - no separate download is necessary.  Go here to see this installation.  The installation can be made essentially silent, e.g. when automatically installing when users access pages to view in SwiftView.

These SwiftView Plug-in technical documents are the ultimate, up to date source of information:

Windows Plug-in Release Notes - all known, repeatable problems are in this file
UNIX Plug-in Release Notes - all known, repeatable problems are in this file
Plug-in Reference Manual - details on how the plug-in works and how to use it

LiveConnect - Java and JavaScript

The SwiftView Plug-in supports Netscape LiveConnect. This enables developers to establish communications between the SwiftView Plug-in and Java and JavaScript code on the same HTML page, sending ICS commands and receiving ICS callbacks. Please note that we do not install the components required for LiveConnect by default because Netscape would first start the Java engine before the SwiftView Plug-in for all users. Please contact us if you want to use LiveConnect.
LiveConnect is documented in the Plug-in Reference Manual.


MIME Types

Browsers start up plug-ins and ActiveX controls for a particular data type based on MIME types or file suffixes. Various implementation issues cause confusion, especially in IE as noted below. Here are some introductory explanations. See the technical documents above for details.

Web (HTTP) servers determine MIME types from server file name suffixes and return the MIME type in HTTP transactions. The web browser is supposed to use that MIME type (NOT the server suffix) to select a tool for viewing a particular type of data not natively supported by the browser. Netscape does this properly. IE, however, often (but not always) ignores the MIME type returned by the HTTP server, using instead the suffix of the file on the server. The result is that it can be difficult to support files whose server suffixes are the same as registered for other purposes on Windows systems and it can also be difficult to induce IE to start the plug-in at all. These problems are largely "fixed" because the SwiftView now registers the default browser for the SwiftView MIME types and associated file name suffixes.

When viewing local files (e.g. FILE://...), the file name suffixes provided by the Plug-in are supposed to determine which Plug-in or ActiveX control to execute. Once again, Netscape works and IE does not. However, the above workaround fixes that problem as well.

Browsers determine which MIME types are supported by a given plug-in by reading the plug-in binary file, not by executing the plug-in. As a result, MIME types must be encoded at compile time. The full list of MIME types supported are listed in the plug-in release notes noted above. Please note that the standard MIME types for PCL and HPGL were registered about 2 years ago by HP but still have not made it into "standard" web server setups. The result is that the web server MIME settings must be updated as described in the Plug-in technical documentation linked below.

On occasion, the MIME types and/or file name suffixes provided by the Plug-in or ActiveX may already be used by some other program or plug-in or control on a users' Win32 system. If this is expected to be a problem, one approach is to use only the single unique SwiftView MIME type application/vnd.SwiftView-ICS (.ics, .svp, .001) for all MIME type returns from the web server. This is easily done in the server setup as documented in the links above. There is also an "ICS only" plug-in available which should be used in this case. Here is a discussion of all downloads available.



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