May 24, 2003
NTLM the way?
Microsoft's IIS server admins sometimes use the proprietary NTLM authentication method to provide username:password protection for web directories. Sadly, as a non-standard and undocumented scheme, current non-Microsoft browser users can't access directories protected in this manner, which puts a bit of a crimp in your cross-platform testing strategy.
Apparently it is not in Microsoft's interest to use a standards-based method to authenticate non-Microsoft using site visitors, so challengers have reverse-engineered NTLM and are beginning to provide browsers that can authenticate to IIS servers.
Apple's Safari beta speaks NTLM, although not enough to provide domain information. The recently released Mozilla 1.4 beta is the first Mozilla-based browser to support NTLM authentication. The next version of Netscape reported will be based on the Mozilla 1.4 branch, bringing compatibility to a somewhat wider audience.
For an interesting read on the Mozilla project's efforts to implement cross-platform NTLM support, check out the Bugzilla report: NTLM auth for HTTP.
If you have a machine that can run Python, then Dmitry Rozmanov has written a NTLM Authorization Proxy Server that may allow your remaining and legacy browsers to authenticate to such servers. Haven't had a chance to test this myself, but found it referenced in the above Bugzilla report. Sounds like it could be a workaround for when you or your clients just have to use NTLM.
May 15, 2003
DiMX Packages & Bundles
With the release of Director MX, developers wishing to deliver Mac titles can finally deliver true OS X-native projectors. However, most are also going to continue targeting the "Classic" MacOS platforms that DiMX supports (MacOS 8.6 - 9.x). Developers may choose to deliver separate CDs for each platform, or CDs with both Mac OS X and "Classic" projectors included, but must employ measures to prevent a projector made for one platform to be inadvertently played on another.
If you are able to exclude OS 8.6 users from your target audience, then Macromedia has a technote on creating a single executable that runs on both OS X and OS 9: Considerations for creating a Macintosh projecter bundle.
Creating a bundled package requires a little bit of somewhat specialized knowledge, though nothing outside the experience of the relatively seasoned Director developer; you need to know how to create disk images & "Shockwave" projectors (see "How to create a fast-start projector"), understand the use of stub projectors, and do a little light editing of the info.plist xml file.
On the plus side, the tech note is really well presented, easy to follow and provides a link to a downloadable sample .dir and bundle to examine and refer to as you work on your very own.
In an ideal world, Director MX would publish bundled packages for you, but the development schedule didn't allow it to happen this time around. Till then, I'll keep this tech note handy -- it's great stuff and I personally appreciate the effort that went into its making.