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2005: The Year of JavaScript

Today, yet more talk about how 2005 is going to be a big year for JavaScript, and in particular for data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest. At the year of data retrieval, ppk of the essential site talks about (which turns out not to use XMLHttpRequest after all) and about the future of JavaScript.

Two things I found interesting here: first, he talks about all of the predecessors of XMLHttpRequest, from image loading to iframe tricks. Second, he raises the question of terminology and sets his own definitions for “DOM scripts”, which change the structure of a site, “DHTML scripts”, which change the presentation (CSS), and “data retrieval scripts”.

I think the question of terminology is far from settled. Both of the “DOM” and “DHTML” scripts he refers to use the W3C DOM, and both could be called “DHTML” as far as I’m aware—Netscape’s classic definition of DHTML was something that lumped together HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and the DOM, and Microsoft had a slightly different definition.

Now I’m not sure DHTML means anything at all. I’m ready to dump the term altogether—it just confuses people into thinking it’s a standard like XHTML, when really it’s a relic of a long-ago Netscape marketing campaign. The fact that the term DHTML doesn’t appear anywhere on the W3C site should tell us something.

Anyway, at least we know what to call the programming language: JavaScript. Or JScript. Or ECMAScript.


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 » Transparent PNG Maker (1/13/2005)
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1. Posted Jan 14, 2005, 6:49 AM ET by Mark Wubben

If we realy want to be nitpicky, let's look at the term DHTML: Dynamic HTML. But, you aren't doing anything to the HTML are you? Only to the DOM! If you follow this reasoning, the only real DHTML happens on the server side!

Anyway, I don't really like the term... it's too old school, perhaps. I'm calling JavaScript JavaScript because that's the most widely used term for it. ECMAScript is fine, too, because it's the standard (and it prevents confusion with Java). JScript is definately a no-go... unless you are talking about Microsoft software specifically.

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