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Trouble report 659

PTViewer panoramas do not preview properly with Internet Explorer

Versions affected

4.4

Description

Web pages generated to use PTViewer do not work properly when previewed on your local computer through Internet Explorer.  The PTViewer image shows a blank rectangle containing a small symbol in the upper-left corner.

This problem occurs only with Internet Explorer and only when the HTML file is on your local computer. HTML files on web servers are unaffected and other browsers are unaffected. One solution to this whole problem is to use a different browser, e.g. Mozilla, Netscape, Firefox, Opera, etc., for testing your PTViewer images.

Discussion

The Panorama Factory's HTML files use JavaScript to control the operation of the viewer. Windows Service Pack 2 introduced new security popup messages whenever JavaScript is used in an HTML file on your local computer. V4.4 of The Panorama Factory introduced a change to the web page templates in an attempt to eliminate the messages (see Trouble report 626 - Internet Explorer displays a security warning when The Panorama Factory previews a web page). Unfortunately, this change apparently causes PTViewer to stop working.

The problem occurs only with Internet Explorer and only when the HTML file is on your local computer. HTML files on web servers are unaffected and other browsers are unaffected.  One solution to this whole problem is to use a different browser, e.g. Mozilla, Netscape, Firefox, Opera, etc., for testing your PTViewer images.

The new security warnings in Windows XP Service Pack 2 have significantly impacted the use of local HTML pages. It seems that you must accept the warnings about JavaScript content in order to have the PTViewer control buttons work.

NOTE: The security warnings are only displayed when you open the web page from a local file.  Internet Explorer will not show the messages when your web page is displayed from an internet web site.

Workaround

For an HTML file that you have already created, edit the file with your favorite text editor (Notepad or Wordpad or something else). You should see this on the first line of the file:

<!-- saved from url=(0014)about:internet -->

Simply delete this line and save the updated HTML file. If you have recently opened the HTML file in Internet Explorer, please close all Internet Explorer windows (important). Double-click the HTML file to open it in a new browser window. It is important to close all Internet Explorer windows to be sure that it reinitializes itself for the updated HTML file. (You only need to do this if you have recently opened the HTML file in Internet Explorer.)

The full workaround is to make the same change in all of the HTML files in The Panorama Factory's template folder. This folder is typically:

c:\Program Files\Smoky City Design\The Panorama Factory V4\Templates

Thereafter, the HTML files created by The Panorama Factory will omit this line. But remember, you will also have to edit any HTML files you have already created.

After making this change, when you open an HTML file containing a PTViewer panorama, you may see one or both of the following security warnings:

"To help protect your security, Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer.  Click here for options..."

or

"Allowing active content such as script and ActiveX controls can be useful, but active content might also harm your computer.  Are you sure you want to let this file run active content?"

If you see either security warning, select Allow blocked content or Yes.

NOTE: The security warnings are only displayed when you open the web page from a local file.  Internet Explorer will not show the messages when your web page is displayed from an internet web site.

Disabling the security warnings

To repeat, these security warnings were new with Windows XP Service Pack 2. And they only appear for HTML files on your local computer disks. They do not appear when the HTML files are displayed from a web server.

It is possible to disable the security warnings in Internet Explorer. However, we do not recommend disabling the warnings.  Microsoft thinks this is an important message. They think, perhaps, that it helps protect you from malicious HTML files that make it onto your computer. It is not possible to turn off the warning for The Panorama Factory's HTML files without turning it off for HTML files from other sources. So you must decide carefully whether to turn it off.

Again, we do not recommend turning off the warning.  However, for completeness, we include the instructions here:

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. Open the Internet Options dialog box from the Tools menu.
  3. Choose the Advanced tab.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings to the group titled "Security".
  5. Place a checkmark in the box "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer".
  6. Click OK.

This eliminates the security warnings and returns Internet Explorer to the way it worked before Service Pack 2.

Status

Corrected in V4.5.  The Mark of the Web has been removed from the templates.  The default preview template was updated to show information about the security warnings.

Please refer to Trouble report 684 - Internet Explorer may display a security warning for web pages containing a VR image.


Revised: April 05, 2007

 1999-2007 Smoky City Design, LLC and John Strait