Five go Mad on the Web…

Reading through Staurt Langridge’s new book: DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript & DOM from I was struck by this line in the opening paragraph of the first chapter:

DHTML is actually a combination of proper HTML for your content, Cascading Style Sheets for your design, and JavaScript for interactivity.

Which is correct, of course. Websites – and in particular DHTML websites – rely heavily on those three technologies.

However there are two more areas that Stuart didn’t mention that are just as crucial when talking about web applications. Those are server-side scripting and the web server itself. As you may have picked up, if you’re a regular reader, I spend most of my time doing server-side scripting, leveraging the power of a web server to manipulate, create, interact with and administer data, then output it using HTML, CSS and JavaScript to the client (a web browser).

Talking of the three “visible” technologies – the bits of code we can see in our browsers – but not aknowledging the power of the two “invisible” technologies means we are missing out on many opportunities the web is offering us. However let’s go a stage further, and realise that it’s only through the collaboration of these five areas, the symbiosis of their complementary capabilities, that we can truly take advantage of this new development platform.

So, over the next few days, I’m going to be looking at all five areas – (X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, server-side scripting and the web server – and sharing my thoughts about how all these can fit together, with a few examples to help illustrate the point. I’ll also touch on databases, XML, and the browser itself – the canvas for our art.