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Upload Technology Decision

Our decision is to move forward with Browser embedded Flash for the File Upload component using a very interesting open-source Flash component, SWFUpload. Full details on the component can be found at: http://swfupload.org.

Basically SWFUpload offers up no user interface of it's own but instead works as a stub that brings up the standard OS Open File dialog. Then once the user has selected their files, they Flash component returns the list of file to the page and all the user interaction is handled through via markup and javascript via a sophisticated Javascript API.

This approach mitigates any accessibility issues with Flash since the UI will be primarily HTML, assuming that the OS handles the accessibility of the File Open dialog. We will still have our hands-full with making the markup accessible but at least it's a problem that we understand.


Background for this decision:

The file and folder upload options are:

  • Web browser HTML
  • Javascript enhanced HTML (DHTML/Ajax)
  • Browser embedded Flash
  • AIR aka. Desktop Flash or HTML/Javascript (formerly Macromedia's Apollo Project)
  • Browser embedded Java
  • Desktop Java

Browser embedded Flash

Features:

  • Ability to select multiple items using the standard OS file picker

Examples:

  • Flickr:
  • SWFUpload:
    • Open source (MIT license) Flash / JavaScript library to take advantage of Flash 9 multiple-upload capabilities.
    • The jQuery UI folks appear to be building a jQuery extension for this library but no new work has been checked in since 10/20/07 so the status isn't clear. But that doesn't preclude us doing something on our own using this same library.

Concerns:

Abobe Air (Desktop HTML-Javascript and/or Flash)

I'm assuming that all the accessibility issues with regular Flash are true in AIR.

AIR Resources

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