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

Friday, July 09, 2004

Where Did All the DHTML Folks Go?

It's wierd; I've been searching on the net for DHTML info, and it's almost like Roanoke out there. There are a flurry of articles, sites, and abstraction layers from 1998 through 2001, and then they all die off. Even the DHTML book market died off. 1999-2001 was when everyone woke up and realized that DHTML sucks; the thing is, though, that I think while it was being actively ignore DHTML might have grown up. Even the amazing DynAPI hasn't been updated since 2001. The only game in town seems to be X.

Open Source DHTML Abstraction Layer

I found an interesting library under the LGPL that is a DHTML abstraction layer to simplify cross-browser and cross-platform DHTML programming. It is called X. I think it was used to make the Rock Star Fish site I compatibility tested in my last post. The reference manual lists alot of very interesting objects that should make DHTML programming much easier cross-platform. Does anyone here have any experience with this library? How about other open source cross-browser/cross-platform DHTML abstraction layers? I've seen other ones but they always seem to impact performance; this one doesn't seem to have that problem.

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?

There's Some Buddhists at the Pearly Gate

I'm listening to Randy Newman's Faust musical right now, specifically the song "How Great Our Lord". It's really heretical and funny. Here it is:

Sorry ladies, to make you wait
There's a couple of Buddhists at the Pearly gate
They asked permission to come on board
Angels: What'd you do Lord?
I had to put them out with the trash
Sing it!
Oh Lord, how great our Lord
Oh Lord, how great our Lord
(Angel babble)

Ladies, ladies,
Why does the earth, glide by below
Like a great big rubber ball?
Angel: It is like a rubber ball!
Why does the bird, fly through the sky
Why does the apple fall?

Folks up here, ask me why
Things go so badly down below
I tell them when they ask me why
I really do not know
Angel: But you do know, don't you Lord?
Lord: 'Course I do! Sing it!

Oh Lord, how great our Lord
Oh Lord, how great our Lord

Folks up here, ask me why
Things go so badly down below
I like to tell them when they ask me why
I say I really don't know
Angel: But you do know, don't You?
Lord: You know it, come on!

Oh Lord, how great our Lord
Oh Lord, how great our Lord
Oh Lord, how great our Lord
Oh Lord, how great our Lord
Oh Lord, how great our Lord

Ryans Here!

My brother Ryan from Austin is here to visit me. It's his birthday today! We're off to go eat lunch over in the garden at Yuerba Buena Gardens.

Web Fire Escape - Never Get Fired for Blogging At Work Again!

This is clever: "The Web Fire Escape is a simple device which has been designed to allow readers of weblogs to instantly replace a Web Fire Escape equipped blog with an alternate work-safe site or a fake word processor or spreadsheet application. When you see a weblog with the Web Fire Escape equipped button you can be sure that career salvation is only a click away should a work colleague or manager approach your desk whilst you are catching up with your daily blogs." This reminds me of the old Boss Key.

Sabrina and Allen Visit from NYC

My old college buddy Sabrina and her husband Allen visited me recently. Here we are hanging out in the backyard at my flat:

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