This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Friday, July 09, 2004

After Years of Stewing, DHTML Might Be Ready

The last few weeks I've had the intuition that perhaps DHTML might be back in business. For years I considered it something I wouldn't touch; it was just too buggy and difficult to work with. Now, Google has announced GMail, which is basicly a DHTML app, and Yahoo has bought Oddpost, which is an extremely ambitious DHTML-based clone of Microsoft Outlook.

The question is now, can DHTML be used cross-browser and cross-platform? I'm not sure, but I am starting to evaluate it. I recently ran across the following interesting post, actually dated about a year ago: "No, this site is not done in Flash. Bet you had to right-click to prove me wrong though, huh? It was done with DHTML . Pretty impressive, eh? Even though I really don't know everything that went into the development, it seems like Flash would probably have been easier to develop with. I would just hate to have to deal with all the platform & old browser issues that developing in Flash avoids."

To test the cross-ability of that DHTML site (check it out, its quite impressive to have been written in DHTML), I ran it in the following browser versions and platforms, and it ran exactly the same and correctly:

I can't believe it actually worked! Can other folks try that site on other browser/platform combos to see if it worked? Post your experiences here as comments.

Also, even though DHTML might be ready for primetime, it is still a pain in the ass to work with, especially cross-browser CSS. Just because its possible doesn't mean it will be enjoyable. But, HTML itself has never been a joy to work with; its valuable because it actually works, with extra work, across the board. Perhaps DHTML is ready to gain the same status?

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