Using DHTML Web Designing

Like most web technologies, DHTML comes with its share of pros and cons. DHTML's reliance on a variety of standards makes it difficult to generalize, so you should decide on a case by case basis whether or not to use DHTML. The following are the major factors to consider when considering using DHTML on your site.

Advantages to Using DHTML
Using DHTML has the following advantages:

  • File sizes are small. DHTML files are small compared to other interactive media like Flash or Shockwave, so they download more quickly.
  • It's supported by both major browser manufacturers. Both Microsoft and Netscape currently support DHTML in some shape or form.
  • DHTML is a standard. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) hasreleased specifications for DOM 0, 1, and 2, and CSS 1 and 2. Thesespecifications lay the groundwork for DHTML.
  • No plug-ins, ActiveX controls, or Java is necessary. A visitor to your site needs only a recent web browser to take advantage of your DHTML. This puts fewer requirements on your audience because they don't need to download special software to view your site.
  • There are fewer calls to the server. Since you can change and move elements after a page is loaded, you don't need to create separate pages just to change styles or display a menu. This saves you time in building pages, and it saves users time because each request to the server takes time and bogs down the browsing experience.

But keep in mind these disadvantages:

  • Only new browsers support DHTML. Only recent browserslike Netscape 6, IE 5.5, and Opera 5 support standards-based DHTML. Many people are still using older versions of these browsers, however, so web designers using DHTML must accommodate these older browsers or sacrifice a significant portion of their audience.
  • Netscape and Microsoft have different DHTML implementations.
    Different implementations, especially in the 4.0 browsers, can make creating a DHTML document tedious and complicated.
  • DHTML creation has a steep learning curve. Because DHTML requires at least partial knowledge of many different web technologies (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and DOM), it takes some learning and practice before you begin creating DHTML content. DHTML tools can go a long way towards eliminating this problem.

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