HTML 4 For Dummies - Bonus Chapters

What's Ahead for DHTML?


If you read the discussion outlined in this extra HTML file, you realize that the W3C is adopting neither vision of DHTML as proposed by Microsoft or Netscape. The W3C’s documents and draft specifications, however, indicate that they’re leaning much more heavily in the direction of Microsoft than toward Netscape. Aside from an insistence on platform independence and language neutrality, a broader notion of events and error handling, and firm insistence on openness and standardization, the W3C’s vision coincides pretty nearly with that of Microsoft.

Does this mean that Microsoft has “won”? We think not, partly because the W3C has always had a broader vision of the Web than Microsoft. Microsoft's vision tends to say that all operating systems are equal; however, Microsoft treats Windows operating systems far more equally than any others, whereas the W3C actually tries to create a level playing field for all operating systems. Nevertheless, we see that Microsoft is deeply involved in the evolution and refinement of this technology, and we believe their efforts toward DHTML definitely bear close attention while the W3C builds its standards.

For what it’s worth, both Netscape and Microsoft swear they plan to adhere to all relevant standards, including those that will govern DHMTL, as soon as the W3C defines them. In the meanwhile, standards issues will probably stay somewhat chaotic and will definitely remain interesting.

We want to go out on a limb and make some predictions about where all this DHTML stuff may lead, starting with a short list of fairly likely outcomes. We follow that with some far out, but way cool, predictions that may ultimately have relevance only in our own twisted minds!

The following lists some of the most probable results that the W3C’s work on DHTML will produce for the Web:

Less likely, but full of possibility, are the following capabilities that DHTML may deliver:

But before any of these predictions can take the test of time and subsequent events, an awful lot of work still needs doing. The draft specifications underway at the W3C have to work their way to consensus and become formal Recommendations or Specifications. Web browser developers have to take complete cognizance of all the functionality that the W3C designers demand (and suggest). And finally, we all have to learn to work within this new framework. It promises to be a real adventure!

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