[Molvis-list] Legacy Chime sites work in Netscape 7, etc.

Eric Martz emartz at microbio.umass.edu
Wed Jan 19 15:17:08 EST 2005

At 1/18/05, Stephen Koch wrote:
>PE works great in FireFox.

That is great to hear! Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to fix any bugs 
reported to me by this coming Saturday, but after that I'll be traveling 
for several weeks. More responses inserted below ...

>   But I could not get FireFox to
>work with two sites that I use in my honors general chemistry teaching

In 1996 when Tim Maffett was developing Chime 1.0 at MDL, he created the 
"immediate mode button in invisible frame" ("IMBIF") method of sending 
javascript strings containing command scripts to Chime. He regarded this as 
a temporary and ugly mechanism, but it is the one that still works in all 
browsers! (There was a year or so about Netscape version 3.x when 
complicated IMBIF sites would crash it, but that stopped in later versions.)

Later, Netscape implemented LiveConnect which supported the function 
executeScript(script) defined by Chime in Netscape 4.

Unfortunately, although Netscape 7 is said to support LiveConnect 
(apparently needed for communication with applets such as jmol), Chime's 
executeScript() doesn't work in the Gecko browsers (Netscape 7, Mozilla, 
Firefox). Luckily, IMBIF still does.

My legacy Chime sites all used IMBIF so they work in Gecko; I think Frieda 
Reichsman and Tim Driscoll (who develop on Macs so rarely get involved with 
Internet Explorer) used executeScript() in the sites you find don't work in 
Gecko. These would require a few tweaks to work in Gecko. The changes I 
needed are outlined at
and I'll be happy to provide specifics (thanks again to Enrique Castro who 
first reported these fixes to me).

>When I asked our IT people whether they would install FireFox, they
>"No.  There is no remote way of updating firefox in the event of security

That is sad to hear! What do they say about Netscape 7 or Mozilla. In my 
tests, they all work identically well with PE.

The only distinguishing feature is that only Firefox allows you to permit 
popups from local html files (e.g. a downloaded PE) while blocking them 
from on-line sites. In the other two, you have to disable the popup blocker 
completely in order to use a downloaded PE. All three Geckos allow giving 
an on-line PE permission to open popups, while blocking other sites.


Eric Martz, Professor Emeritus, Dept Microbiology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA US

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