What's new in DHTML?
So what's so great about Dynamic HTML? What's been gained?
- Absolute positioning on the page: You can now place elements EXACTLY where you want them. Of course that means you'll have to figure out the coordinates of that "exactly right" spot! Thought you could get away from math, did you??
- Access to properties: It is now possible to specifically set many properties that you just couldn't get to before. This lets the web author write scripts that CHANGE these properties in reaction to what the user does on the page. This ability comes from a new Document Object Model which sets up a hierarchy of "belonging to" for all the elements on a web page. What this means to the HTML author is that now there is a way to refer to all the elements and their properties. Before
DHTML we didn't have a way to give a name to many of the parts of the HTML page. Quite frustrating actually to see something on the page, but not have a way to talk about it by name!
- Partial redraw: The page doesn't have to be completely redrawn with each change now. This opens up lots of doors for the imagination where band-width/time issues had closed it before.
- Event-handling: New abilities to capture what is happening with a page.
In sum, the new DHTML has added much to your ability to set up your HTML pages and change them in response to what the user does. The only problem is that no browser yet supports all of these features and the two biggies [Editor: when this was written], IE+ and
Netscape, don't support the same features in the same way, and different
versions of IE and Netscape support different features! It's pretty confusing at this point, to tell the truth!
The pages of this site are intended to illustrate how the basics work. But some effects won't work for one browser or the other. Maybe some day...
[Editor: Netscape lost the browser wars and the LAYER tag died with it. DIV remains and works with all of the currently popular browsers (2012).]
© 1997-2002 Jan Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>