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What is Dynamic HTML?


Dynamic HTML is really just HTML with a few new elements plus access to those elements via a scripting language. The new elements give you more precise control over how your page looks and the new object model lets you manipulate those elements programmatically using scripts.

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By: Mike Hall
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March 25, 1999

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Dynamic HTML is really just HTML with a few new elements plus access to those elements via a scripting language. The new elements give you more precise control over how your page looks and the new object model lets you manipulate those elements programmatically using scripts.Dynamic HTML is really just HTML with a few new elements plus access to those elements via a scripting language. The new elements give you more precise control over how your page looks and the new object model lets you manipulate those elements programmatically using scripts.

Originally, HTML was designed to use free-flowing layouts. You had little control over how your text and images were displayed on the page. This was in anticipation of pages being viewed on a variety of platforms and machines with different screen sizes and available system fonts.

Later, the <table> and <font> tags were added to allow a little more control over content layout and style. But these still had their limitations. JavaScript was introduced to allowed for some manipulation of certain page elements, such as images and form inputs, through programming but was also somewhat limited.

Now, DHTML has added elements that give you precise control over the look of your page. These elements are:
  • Style Sheets let you define different styles for text presentation, such as color, margin size and fonts.
  • Content Positioning let's you determine exactly where elements of your page appear within the browser window. Elements can even overlap, be hidden or be moved dynamically.
  • Downloadable Fonts ensure that the font you choose for text will be used even if that font is not available on the client's machine.

The Document Object Model (DOM) defines both the properties of various page elements and the methods used to change them. Using scripts, you can dynamically alter the content of your page. For example, changes can be made based on the particular browser being used or in response to a user action.

Browser Compatibility
Both Netscape and Microsoft offer browsers that support DHTML but they differ in both accepted HTML syntax and scripting code.
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