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Hour 18. JavaScript > Viewer Detection

Viewer Detection

With the proliferation of Flash sites came the proliferation of “plug-in detection scripts.” These detection scripts consisted of code that could be used to detect the computer platform, browser vendor and version, and plug-in vendor and version. By checking these attributes, a Web page could redirect users that didn't have the technology necessary to correctly view the advanced content. For example, you could have different versions of a Web site that were targeted to browsers based upon their capabilities.

Such detection scripts have become commonplace with the widespread use of Flash, which hasn't always been such a standard part of Web browsers. No one wants a user to arrive at a Web page only to see a broken graphic due to a missing plug-in. Although Flash has become a standard across most Web browsers, SVG still has not quite achieved such a status. For this reason, developers have begun to create detection scripts for SVG viewers. Knowing the reluctance of Web users to install plug-ins and browser add-ins on their own, such a feature can help boost the odds of users seeing your SVG content. For example, if your detection script determines that an SVG viewer is not installed, you can direct the user to a download source for an SVG viewer plug-in and/or explain that your content is SVG-enhanced. Explaining the benefits of your content might encourage users to allow the plug-in to be installed.


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