What Is DHTML?
What Can DHTML Do?
DHTML can do all sorts of really interesting and fun things. You can create little games, sliding pop-up menus, draggable images, interactive quizzes, and the like. Internet Explorer (IE), especially, has all sorts of great extensions that will let you get pretty creative. There's no end to the things you can do.
The Limitations of DHTML
I bring up this story as a potential warning: If you get really fancy with DHTML, you will pay. Development time to make your code work on the various browsers and platforms will take way longer than it should. If you think you're done, look at your page on a Macintosh running IE 4.5.
Everything in this book is fully cross-browser and cross-platform. In fact, I'm ignoring everything that's Netscape-specific or IE-specific. As of this writing, Netscape hasn't completely lost the browser war yet, so Netscape users must still be considered. Also, Netscape 6 is less popular than expected, so Netscape 4.x users must still be considered and coded for.
When to Use DHTML
To be honest, I only use DHTML to make layers appear and disappear, and for simple animation. However, not everyone has such pedestrian ambitions for their DHTML, so you'll find examples that go beyond those few uses in this book. In fact, I expect to see a lot more DHTML on the Web fairly soon, now that almost everyone has Netscape 4.7+ and IE 5.x. All the browser metrics I've seen indicate that at least 95% of Web surfers have a 4.0+ browser.
When you start to code your own DHTML, start small and simple. It's easy to make large promises to a client, and as a brilliant programmer, I'm sure you'll deliver on them, but you'll save yourself a lot of heartache and late nights if you build your pages in incremental phases.