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Bad DHTML

I know that dynamic HTML is the coolest thing since HTML was invented. I love dynamic HTML. Using this new, wonderful set of tools, you can create web sites that are incredible! You can have pictures move, lists expand and contract, background change and just about anything else you can image.

The problem with dynamic HTML is not that it is not great or easy or useful. The main problems are:

  1. It is a very new standard, and by using DHTML you are locking out people with older browsers.
  2. Dynamic HTML requires more resources on the browsing computer, which makes it more difficult for people with older systems to use it and enjoy the benefits.
  3. It’s common for people to overuse dynamic HTML, creating web pages which are very fancy and do lots of things that do not really enhance their web sites.
  4. A higher level of expertise is required to code and maintain pages containing dynamic HTML. This means that you will spend more time debugging the pages, and it will be more difficult to add changes later.

However, these things said I must admit that I am a huge fan of dynamic HTML. It’s a wonderful tool which, if used wisely, can create some awesome websites.

Okay, if you are going to use DHTML, keep the following tips in mind.

  1. Be sure and check for browser compatibility in your code. If you check browser name and version number, you can make a page that will work under all or most conditions.
  2. Unless you are trying to impress someone, try not to go overboard. Dynamic HTML can be a real bear to maintain. If you are creating a website for your company, be sure and keep in mind that by even using DHTML you are forcing yourself and you company to have to hire a more skilled set of web coders and designers.
  3. Keep in mind the load times of your pages. DHTML can produce some very, very large pages. Follow the same rules that you would with normal HTML – put things in smaller files, keep script sizes low and so on.

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