JavaScript Overview

Motivation: Bring simple but useful examples of cross browser tricks to developers.
Inspiration: Danny Goodman's Website

JavaScript has been reborn. Look below the horizontal rule- and how we described the JavaScript world just a year and a half ago. Underlying turmoil - primarily because Microsoft had effectively stalled all Web technologies through its 90%++ IE browser market share and general stalling on all cross browser web technologies including no updates to IE other than security fixes for 5 years.

So what was the tipping point ? All the client browser security breeches and attacks mainly through IE's ActiveX and admin privileges ? The gradual rise of competing browsers from Mozilla, Opera, and Safari/Apple ? The fact that competing technologies like ASP, JSP, JSF, Flash were difficult to program ? The download and plugins stigma against very much improved Java and Flash? un and IBM's steady increase of use of javaScript in their Java Studio Creator and Rational Development tools? The converging on almost complete W3C standards by all the browsers but IE? The move by Opera and Mozilla to move to implement better Forms and other browser standards? SVG and E4X implemented in Firefox 1.5? The drop from 93% market share of IE to 78%-- and still falling in about a year and a half? the realization by IT organizations that Microsoft is not a friend of cross platform, cross browser systems - and that critically effects their drive to integrated and highly interoperable systems?

Hard to say what the factor was - but JavaScript, through the explosive growth of interest in AJAX-Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is absolutely bubbling with activity. When JavaWorld pronounces "AJAX: Dawn of a new Developer" , DHTMLers know something is up.

But a lot of AJAX is old hat. The whole idea is to reduce the amount of costly network traffic by doing more things on the client. Also improve the interface with PC-like components. But as we featured here with all our tutorials on calendars, color pickers, grids and menus - that was a big opportunity. Ditto for use of iFrames and XML-RPC. But the use of XMLHTTP and XML to bind to data and services on the Server and the rise of portals, that may have been the tipping point. Download all the JavaScript smarts to run a page efficiently - and not only save network traffic time but also development headaches because the JavaScript is reasonably standard and the alternative ASP/JSP/JSF to and fro-ing just to capture events on the client - well be gone.

So please do read the AJAX tutorials and see the old JavaScript UI components in a new light. Enjoy.

HTML and JavaScript developers are plagued with the worst set of non-standard-yet-we-promised-to-be-standard implementations of HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and DOM and other web development standards.This is the effects of the browsers wars. Despite the W3C's and others valiant efforts, unfortunately standards making and standards breaking is still deeply entrenched into the key strategies of too many software developers. And one party, Microsoft, is by far the biggest sinner.

Redmond sins both ways - acts of omission - they have failed to implement close to the complete CSS, DOM, and JavaScript standards(in contrast Mozilla and Opera are much more compliant). But worse Redmond trespasses with sins of commission. Its simple - first, they extend well beyond the standard with nice goodies in some areas. Second, they then put those 'beyond-the-standard' goodies in a lot of auto-generated code in Office, Visual Studio and Front Page. Third, they never implement a switch in their systems that says "Stick to the Standard". And now of course, Microsoft has frozen all IE6 development - and resist requests to make IE and their applications more standards compliant. As one Redmonite put it - "we did not get to be a $24B company playing slow-pitch softball". Its now $39B a year and counting.

But despite lingering effects of browser wars, JavaScript and DHTML continue to prosper. And to anyone saying that JavaScript can't carry a heavy payload, just have them look at say IBM/Rational RUP-Rational Unified Process:

or the new Cognos ReportNet which are both JavaScript/DHTML applications which carry very hefty payloads indeed. JavaScript certainly can deliver cross platform applications of the highest caliber.

So we provide these tips that are guaranteed to work in three browsers - Mozilla/Netscape, Opera, and Microsoft Internet Explorer current or latest editions. We do not guarantee they will work with earlier editions.So these Tips and examples are designed to highlight examples of HTML and JavaScript that are nifty and supported across browsers. We have a series of Flash and ActionScript tips as well which are guaranteed to work the same across all browsers and OS clients because the same Flash player is used in all instances. These examples are simple and hopefully self explanatory. If they become popular they will be supported by a databased search engine.

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