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Part V: Internet Programming > Dynamic HTML Applications

Chapter 19. Dynamic HTML Applications

In the beginning, there was just HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). All Web pages were inherently static, but they were appealing enough to fuel Web mania. Then came Common Gateway Interface (CGI) applications, external applications that ran on the server and, for the first time, allowed for pages whose content wasn't fixed. The next step toward dynamic content was client-side scripting routines or simple programs written in macro languages that execute inside the browser, such as Microsoft Visual Basic, Scripting Edition (VBScript), or scripting languages complying with the ECMAScript specification. Microsoft has delivered newer proprietary technologies for creating dynamic content in the browser, such as ActiveX controls and ActiveX documents, whereas other vendors have focused mostly on applets written in Java. The most interesting, powerful, and widely accepted server-side technology is based on server-side scripting and Active Server Pages (ASP). The most powerful way to create dynamic pages on the client side is based on Dynamic HTML (DHTML).

All these technologies have some flaws, however. CGI applications aren't very efficient, they can't be easily scaled to hundreds of clients, and they aren't powerful enough for large Internet or intranet applications. Client-side scripting is definitely more suitable for a Visual Basic programmer, especially if the programmer uses VBScript. Alas, VBScript isn't currently supported by Netscape Navigator; therefore, you should use it only for intranet installations. Neither does Netscape Navigator support ActiveX controls and ActiveX documents. Many Internet developers consider Active Server Pages (ASP) the best way to deliver pure HTML dynamic pages to any browser, but it's a fact that building and maintaining a large ASP-based application isn't a trivial task. In addition, scripts on the server become a less efficient solution as the number of clients increases.


  

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