Not to steal from DHTMLs current thunder (we have featured DHML in 3 of our recent postings)but there are some alternative options to DHTML in the contest become presentation layer technology of choice. We have alread covered a number of these in our report on RIA-Rich internet applications earlier this past Spring. But things have changed so it is worthwhile examining some of the presentation solutions beyond DHTML.
From the beginning of software development there has been a profound trade-off between functionality, power, cost and speed of operation. The problem first arose in timesharing systems of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Should developers use the smart but more expensive and proprietary IBM 3270 terminals to do a limited , but useful setof validity checks locally? Or should one use the cheaper and universally available dumb Ascii terminals that constantly needed to and from refreshes whenever data was entered in forms. Sound familiar ?
With Client Server computing in the 1980s and 1990s this same problem emerged but with a twist. Now the presentation layer could and most likely was on the PC desktop but their was the cost and nightmare of keeping all those desktops up to date with the latest validations and programming rules. Enter the Web in the mid 1990s and suddenly you had all those desktop apps and their presentation layer going back to the central Web server.
So here is how the trade-offs currently stand: