eDrawings Browser Conundrum

A common question that is often asked when discussing sharing eDrawings files is "Can an embedded eDrawing be opened in a browser other than Internet Exlorer?".  Without getting into a debate on what web browser is best *Chrome!, sorry*, let's face it, companies are allowing users to choose their web browser and since eDrawings is a tool to communicate, the probability that the recipient is running something other than Internet Explorer is increasing.

If you save an eDrawing into an HTM file and open it in a browser like Chrome or Firefox, the following message will be displayed in the footer:

Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher is required to view this eDrawing file.  Other browsers can be used, if configured correctly.  Generated with SolidWorks eDrawings 2011 SP.

If you click on the "configured" link above, it opens the online SolidWorks Help showing the following:

For those of you who have tried this you know that it will not open.  In some cases like in FireFox it will open up the source of the file and Chrome will display a blank screen with the aforementioned footer message.


Browser IE Extenstions: All of the current solutions to get eDrawings to run in 3rd party web browsers all require you to run IE in some form.  I have personally tried a few extensions on both FireFox and Chome that run an embedded version of IE inside (IE Tab worked well).  Currently the SolidWorks Knowledge base explains in Solution ID: S-07514 that IE is the only browser and to submit an enhancement request.

eDrawings Native Viewer: The other suggestion I often give is to use eDrawings viewer since it is supported on Windows and Mac.  The issue remains though if you were sent the HTM file and need to open it.

Internet Explorer dependency is littered throughout SolidWorks' product line, which a few years ago was almost a non-issue but with the growing population moving to other browser platforms (now more than 50% of the market) this question comes up a lot.  Customers continue to ask me ways around this requirement and I believe that much of this could be answered with the promise of SolidWorks Connect. It may not address the HTM issue directly but it will deliver a solution to share content without the need of eDrawings or a specific browser.  

How do you share your SolidWorks content now and do you care if products require Internet Explorer to function?  Personally, I use eDrawings native files since HTM or even zipped HTM are blocked by most firewalls but I only use IE for one application in house that requires it. ~Lou