Author Topic: New version of my MS Agent Plug-in for Firefox  (Read 3971 times)

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Offline Hoagiebot

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New version of my MS Agent Plug-in for Firefox
« on: October 14, 2007, 04:55:01 am »
For those of you who are interested in placing Microsoft Agent characters on your websites, I am happy to announce that there is a new version of my Microsoft Agent Plug-in for the Mozilla Firefox browser available to download from my Foxee.Net website!  This is the first version of the plug-in to be built based off of the new Firefox 2.0.0.7 source code, and that allows you to see Microsoft Agent Characters that are scripted in JavaScript with the latest version of the Firefox browser.

If you are unfamiliar with what Microsoft Agent is, it is a technology that allows you to add interactive cartoon characters to websites and applications so that they can interact with your visitors.  Normally these characters could only be seen if you visited a website containing them with the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, however the plug-in that I have been actively maintaining for the past couple years is one step towards the direction of changing all of that.  The only drawback to the Firefox plug-in is that currently it can only show Microsoft Agent characters that are controlled with JavaScript when most websites that have Microsoft Agent characters control them with Microsoft's VBScript.  This is because as of currently Mozilla Firefox does not support VBScript like Internet Explorer does, and unless someone can develop a plug-in to change that it probably never will.  (I'm working on this!)

If you would like to try out my Microsoft Agent Plug-in for Mozilla Firefox, you can download it for free off of my Foxee.Net website here:

http://www.foxee.net/goodies/index.html

If you would like to play with my own Microsoft Agent character, Foxee the Arctic Blue Fox, you can see her at her demonstration website at the link below:

http://www.foxee.net/

You must view Foxee's website in Internet Explorer for her to work however, because she's controlled with VBScript.  Sorry, that's just the way it goes-- the website was developed before the plug-in!

In any case, enjoy the plug-in and enjoy playing with Foxee, and as always any comments or feedback is always appreciated!

Offline Kada-Ru

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New version of my MS Agent Plug-in for Firefox
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 04:08:17 pm »
I REMEMBER THIS!  '<img'>  I forgot all about it.  Glad you are bringing her back.  That would be cool to be able to do on a website.  Keep up the good work and I am sure a lot of website holders would enjoy having something like your Miss Blue on their site! '<img'>
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Offline Hoagiebot

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New version of my MS Agent Plug-in for Firefox
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2007, 10:40:20 pm »
Quote (Kada-Ru @ Oct. 21 2007, 6:08 pm)
I REMEMBER THIS!  :)  I forgot all about it.  Glad you are bringing her back.  That would be cool to be able to do on a website.  Keep up the good work and I am sure a lot of website holders would enjoy having something like your Miss Blue on their site! :)

Quote
Keep up the good work and I am sure a lot of website holders would enjoy having something like your Miss Blue on their site! :)


Thank you very much for the kind words about Foxee-- I very much appreciate it!  I don't update the Microsft Agent character of her nearly as often as I would like to, but hopefully one of these days I will be able to finish all 80 or so of the animations that I would like to eventually add to her.

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I forgot all about it.  Glad you are bringing her back.


The Foxee Microsoft Agent character never left-- her Foxee.net website has been hosted on my Furtopia account since 2003, and she will continue to stick around as long as there are computers capable of running her ActiveX controls.

That is the problem that I have been trying to address by working on the Microsoft Agent plugin for the Mozilla Firefox browser-- I am trying very hard to keep Foxee's ActiveX-based Microsoft Agent technology relevant and alive.  Back in the late 90's after the end of the browser wars and the death of Netscape, things were very good for me and Foxee.  You see, since Foxee is based on Microsoft technology, Microsoft Internet Explorer can show her on webpages natively, without the need for any kind of plug-ins or extensions.  So during the first few years of the new Millennium when Internet Explorer had more than a 90% share of the web browser market I knew that my little Foxee character would be able to show up on 90% of all of my website visitor's browsers without a problem.

Late in 2004 however, things changed.  A stripped-down version of the old Netscape browser, now rebranded as "Firefox," had its big 1.0 release with much fanfare, and restarted the browser wars all over again.  Firefox doesn't natively support Microsoft-developed web technologies (such as the ActiveX and VBScript that my Foxee Microsoft Agent character relies on to work), and the "Spread Firefox" marketroids have convinced many people that having Firefox not support these well-established technologies is a "desired feature" instead of a weakness-- which means that Firefox is not likely to support these technologies any time soon.

According to W3Schools.com, as of last September about 36% of the browsers in use on the web are now versions of Firefox, which means that now about 2 out of every 5 people who visit my Foxee.Net website will not be able to see her without some kind of plug-in help.

Since I don't want Foxee's technology to die out because of this I have decided to take matters into my own hands and work on trying to develop the plug-ins needed to have Foxee work on Firefox myself.  For starters, I have modified a Mozilla ActiveX plug-in to work with Foxee's ActiveX Agent controls.  That is the plug-in that I was advertising in the post above (which, by the way, I will be releasing a version of for Firefox 2.0.0.8 later tonight).  In addition to that I am currently working as hard as I can to learn Mozilla's NPAPI and XPCOM programming interfaces so that I can develop my own VBScript plug-in for Firefox from scratch since there is no current plug-in for VBScript in existence that I can modify.  Learning the technologies required to write my own VBScript plug-in will be a long and hard road for me to follow, and only time will tell if I am ever successfully able to do it or not.

In any case, thanks again for your very kind words about Foxee, and hopefully I will be able to successfully be able to get her VBScript code to work fully with Firefox so that she can be enjoyed by others for years to come.