DHTML : Dynamic Web Coding
by © 2003 ~ June Kaminski, MSN PhD(c)
DHTML is not a standard defined by the W3 Consortium. Rather, it is a "marketing term that was used by Netscape and Microsoft to describe the new technologies the 4.x generation browsers would support" (W3 Consortium)."
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
- Document Object Models (DOM)
Making Your Code Dynamic
"DHTML excels in creating low-bandwidth effects that enhance a web page's functionality. It can be used to create animations, games, applications, provide new ways of navigating through web sites, and create out-of-this world page layouts that simply aren't possible with just HTML. Although many of the features of DHTML can be duplicated with either Flash or Java, DHTML provides an alternative that does not require plugins and embeds seamlessly into a web page."( Dan Steinman, 1998).
In order to understand the complexities of DHTML, it is useful to examine its components in more detail.
Cascading Style Sheets
CSS are sophisticated codes that separate web content from the web desplay - the style, positioning, colors, fonts, and so on. CSSP or CSS Positioning allows pixel-level control over HTML element positioning. The separation of the presentation style of web documents from the content with CSS2 (CSS level 2) simplifies Web authoring and site maintenance. "CSS2 supports media-specific style sheets so that authors may tailor the presentation of their documents to visual browsers, aural devices, printers, braille devices, handheld devices, etc. This specification also supports content positioning, downloadable fonts, table layout, features for internationalization, automatic counters and numbering, and some properties related to user interface" (W3 Consortium). The W3C offer an excellent tutorial to learn CSS2 called, CSS2 Specification.
Putting them Together
DHTML is usually applied to achieve three tasks:
- Position or placing blocks of content on the page and moving them around
- Style Modifications which change the look and feel of the page
- Event handling or relating user events to changes in positioning or other style modifications
A helpful group of tutorials are available through HTML Goodies, called DHTML and Layer Tutorial.
The links included in this article offer introductions and how-tos to begin your journey in mastering this newest development in html coding. Any quick search on Google will bring many more resources to your attention, readily available at your fingertips. As browser manufacturers work on their incompatibility and the use of higher version browsers become more commonplace, DHTML will become a mandatory part of any professional designer's itinerary.
History of HTML Article Series
PART 1: Should a Credible Designer Know HTML?
PART 2: HTML 3.2 - The Birth of Wilbur
PART 3: HTML 4.0 AND 4.01 - More of a Good Thing!
PART 4: XHTML : Web Coding for Refined Design
PART 5: DHTML : Dynamic Web Coding
© June Kaminski Published: 2003.