Tag Archives: Flash Player

Flash 10 and WordPress File Upload Problems

Well, Flash 10 is out with new features, security updates, and a fix for a Firefox video problem that I never noticed because it only affected Windows, and only sometimes.

It seems a little less stable than version 9 on Linux, at least 64-bit (it’s kind of complicated, because they only have a 32-bit program, so you either need to run a 32-bit version of your web browser, or use a wrapper that will let the 64-bit browser talk to the 32-bit plugin. nspluginwrapper does this for Firefox and other Gecko browsers, while Opera has a wrapper built in). But the annoying part: WordPress’ image upload no longer works.

Current versions of WordPress use SWFUpload to provide an enhanced file uploader. If you don’t have Flash installed, it will just use the standard upload dialog built into your web browser, but then you’re stuck uploading one image at a time — a real pain if you’re making a photo gallery post. Unfortunately for upload libraries, Adobe removed the ability for the Flash API to open a file dialog for security reasons.

So now, you can click on the button, but the dialog never opens. WordPress is tracking the issue in ticket 6979, which mentions that SWFUpload is discussing workarounds, and the YUI Uploader has already released a new version that works with Flash 10.

An update of some sort is likely to happen soon. In the mean time, WordPress users have two choices: hold off on updating Flash, or stick with the browser uploader for now.

Update October 31: SWFUpload has a new version in beta which works with Flash 10, and WordPress is working on integrating the update. It’s targeted for WordPress 2.7, which comes out in a little under two weeks, though the 2.7 writeup lists it as a feature that “didn’t make it” and might be in 2.8. (This seems like something that would affect enough people that I’d hope they would include it, even if it means pushing back the release a few days for more testing.)

There’s also been talk about implementing a file uploader using Gears, which I’d find really appealing if I weren’t 64-bit Linux both at home and at work.

Update November 1: I’ve tested WordPress 2.7 Beta 1 (not on this blog) and can confirm that the fix is included, as I was able to upload two images in one transaction.

Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

I’ve upgraded to the just-released WordPress 2.5. The new admin interface is very nice, especially the ability to upload more than one image at a time (though I think they might want to test uploading a single picture a bit more [edit: Maybe it’s specific to Firefox 3 beta 4—on uploading one image, it shows the control panel three times instead of just once.] [edit2: Maybe it’s on the Firefox beta, but the Linux version of Flash Player. It works just fine on the same version of Firefox on the Mac.] [edit3: It’s definitely the Linux Flash Player; I tried it with Opera on Linux and had the same problem.]).

I’ve adapted my theme to use new built-in support for Gravatar and optimal titles instead of the plugins I was using before.

All the stuff you’ll see appears to be working just fine so far. A couple of minor glitches with some admin plugins (WP-Amazon takes two clicks to show or hide instead of just one), but no biggie.

There was one issue during the upgrade. I’ve been using XCache for WordPress to improve site performance. I was asked for the XCache admin login & password during the database upgrade. I couldn’t remember them, so I renamed object-cache.php and hit “cancel” on the password prompt, but it seems to have upgraded everything fine.

The one really annoying thing is that the Bad Behavior anti-spam plugin conflicts with the new media uploader (it’s already on the WordPress 2.5 Plugin Compatibility list). There are two issues. First, “Shockwave Flash” is apparently used by spambots, so it was listed in blacklist.php (code 17f4e8c8). Second, it seems Flash is mixing and matching HTTP 1.0 and HTTP 1.1. If I remove it from the blacklist, it trips condition a0105122, which indicates an Expect header appearing in an HTTP 1.0 request. Removing that test allows it to upload, but the test catches a lot of spam…

Edit: I tried out the visual editor again, as it was billed as “it doesn’t mess with your code anymore.” Sadly, it does mess with your code. It disappeared an image in one post, and it still replaces semantically-neutral <i> tags with <em> tags, even when you’ve entered them manually. <em> is for emphasis. When you italicize a book title, you are not emphasizing it. By replacing one tag with the other, it adds inaccurate semantic meaning. This is just as incorrect as using <h5> to get small text instead of using it for a level-5 heading.

Fixing Flash in Fedora Core 5

I upgraded two computers at work to Fedora Core 5. One was a network upgrade that went without a hitch.* The other was trashed so badly I had to do a fresh install.

I’ve run into a couple of gotchas, among them the fact that text is missing in Flash animations. I messed with my font settings, checked SELinux logs, tried switching from the binary installer to the RPM package [macromedia.mplug.org], to no avail. I tracked down a Fedora mailing list post that pointed to a mozilla bug that had been languishing for a few months, then added what I knew—which was that it affected Flash regardless of the browser.

On Sunday, commenter Dawid Gajownik tracked down the problem: Flash hard-codes the paths where it looks for fonts, instead of letting the X server tell it where to look. Fedora Core 5 includes a new X server, which no longer puts things in /usr/X11R6. Apparently symlinking the old font paths to the new ones works around the problem:

[root@X ~]# mkdir -p /usr/X11R6/lib/X11
[root@X ~]# cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11
[root@X X11]# ln -s ../../../../etc/X11/fs
[root@X X11]# ln -s ../../../share/X11/fonts

I tried it with absolute links (to /etc/X11/fs and /usr/share/X11/fonts) instead of relative, and it worked fine.

Also, if SELinux is in enforcing mode, you need to allow text relocations on the Flash library. More info on that in Dawid’s bugzilla comment.

So this should take care of Flash until Macrodobe releases an updated version. They’re apparently heading straight for 8.5 on Linux, which is why they haven’t released Flash 8.0 yet.

*Almost. It turns out the repodata on disc 1 isn’t enough for a network or hard disk installation. I copied all the discs onto an internal web server, then had to grab the repodata folder from a mirror. Would’ve been fine with the CDs except for the annoying problem that the CD drive on that machine doesn’t work. Once I had that, though, the upgrade went smoothly.

Stop flashing me

As one of the many working stiffs who can access the internet from work but has to share a connection, I would like to make a request of the corporate world at large:

STOP REQUIRING FLASH TO VIEW YOUR SITE!!!!!!

Everything I look at on the net while at work has to go through a server in northern CA, which doesn’t have Flash capability and probably never will, because it would be even slower if the 250 people using it were allowed to view bandwidth-hogging all-Flash sites. With the economy being what it is, bandwidth costs being what they are, and connection power needing to be split at most offices, I’m not sure any company should be upping the ante this far in the name of pretty pictures. And the defense that people can look at it at home isn’t too great, either, since DSL is out of reach of more working stiffs than web geeks want to admit, and Deity-of-Your-Choice only knows when it might creep into affordability.

So, please do what you used to do, and keep your non-Flash site online after the upgrade, instead of routing us to a page exhorting the wonders of Flash and attempting to bully us into downloading it. (Baaaa.) You’ll widen your audience with very little effort–and hey, aren’t non-Flash sites easier to maintain?