IN THIS CHAPTER
Introducing Dynamic HTML
The common denominator of DHTML functionality across browsers
Upgrading to modern compatibility techniques
Version 4 browsers—NN4 and IE4—were the first to include World Wide Web technologies that gave page authors far more control over the display and interactive behavior of web page content. Lumped together under the heading of Dynamic HTML (DHTML), these technologies dramatically extended the simple formatting of standard HTML that page authors had used for years. These days, scripters and designers coming to web development for the first time take DHTML capabilities for granted; they are probably unaware that plain ol' HTML is little more than a specification to assign context to static text and images on a page.
A lot of what the user gets with DHTML had previously been accomplished only through Java applets and plug-ins, such as early versions of Shockwave (pre-Flash). Not that DHTML eliminates these technologies from the web author's arsenal (DHTML doesn't do sound or video, for example), but because DHTML can accomplish much more of what authors look for in assembling page content and layout, without the long downloads of applets or plug-in content, it becomes an attractive way for nonprogrammers to spice up web applications. At the same time, however, some recent technologies, such as Ajax, have brought legions of experienced programmers onto the scene to create some amazing application-like ...