PapayaSoft - Phuket web development

Conflict Between Google Translate Widget and Firefox Flashblock Extension

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The Google Translate widget allows webmasters to add on-demand translation of a website page. Very easy to configure and deploy.

The rendered widget appears in the browser as a simple select dropdown with options for all the language supported by Google Translate. When the user selects his desired target language, the widget is supposed to contact the Google Translate mother ship, translate the text on the page, and then add an fixed iframe panel at the top of the browser viewport, followed by the translation of the page. The translated page even implements onmouseover handlers for text-based elements that display the original source text. Sweet.

It has worked great for me in the past. But I recently did a new deployment and I was unable to get the widget to work. When I (as the user) selected my target language, I got the following:

Error: The server could not complete your request. Try again later.

A bit more poking showed that it was only happening in Firefox. All my other browsers were ok. Eventually, I narrowed it down to a conflict with the Flashblock extension. Disabling the extension solved the problem.

Now, the tough choice is to run without the Flashblock or without the Google Translate. But at least I can deploy for the customer.

2010-02-20 Update: The mere presence of the enabled Flashblock extension when visiting a page with the translate widget does not cause the problem. The issue only occurs when the page has Flash content and the extension is configured to block Flash on that page.

The reason: The widget appears to actually use Flash!

In the file

<a href="http://translate.googleapis.com/translate_static/js/element/main.js">http://translate.googleapis.com/translate_static/js/element/main.js</a>

the function wf() seems to add Flash embed code into the page. I imagine that Flashblock is detecting this attempted insertion and is doing its magic.

I actually find it interesting – and impressive – that the Flashblock extension is smart enough to not only find/block Flash content on initial page load, but also at any time after that. I imagine it monitors the DOM and is vigilantly swaps out any Flash embeddings with its own replacement button.

I can see that the widget creates several iframes, at least one of which has Flash content pulled from the domain translate.googleapis.com. It stands to reason – well, at least to me – that enabling Flash content for this domain should do the trick. But so far, no luck. ;–(

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