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I realised some of BBC Timelines were shown in Flash with XML data over HTTP. Firebug revealed their XML links! Thanks to Ben Metcalfe’s post for the pointer.

For example, “Fifteen years of the web” page loads XML data from here. It’s interesting, but the data is not re-usable for me to draw them in SIMILE Timeline easily.

The XML data contains Flash proprietary “textformat” tags! I know this particular example is not intended to be used openly, but it could have been a good “open” data source for mashup if they did not use the proprietary standards.

I have no experience in Flash programming at all, but my advice would be:

  1. Don’t use the proprietary Flash “textformat” tag in XML data.
  2. Use other supported HTML tags if necessary and put all inside a CDATA section.
  3. Use CSS to format text when needed.

BTW, “Timeline: The Blair Years” was shown in Flash when first published last week, but it has been replaced with HTML for some reason. Although its XML is still available, I can’t use it in SIMILE Timeline. Shame.

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