DOM Scripting Task Force 12

I guess you’ve all seen the DHTML… ehmm… DOM Scriptiping Task Force over at The Web Standards Project by now. It’s about time someone realized that DHTML is not just An outdated scripting technique that is mainly characterized by the changes it makes to the style properties of certain elements, and by the use of the browser-specific DOMs document.layers and document.all.

  • Dean Edwards

    Hey Erik, I’m glad you are supportive of our new venture. Wanna join?

  • Emil A Eklund

    About time! DHTML and JavaScript really needs an improved image.

  • ppk


    How would you define it?

    Personally I want to get rid of the term ‘DHTML’, so I thought I’d give it this definition. Nobody else on the TF objected, so it ended up in the definition list.

  • M. Schopman

    Unfortunately it takes immense amounts of media attention (Ajax) before they have to come up with this. It makes me think they just wanted to take advantage of the current situation in favor of WASP, ie, a marketing activity, and never had the vision themselves to see DHTML is more than just another toy. Are they the right persons for such a task force, I really have doubts about that.

    And then we have the ever continuing accessability discussion. Face it, people with a serious vision handicap cannot watch TV, people with serious hearing handicaps cannot hear a radio show or go to a concert. It is bad for them, but when do people realize that some things are just not in reach for those people.

    I would have rather seen a task force within a group of people who have a more functionality based approached rather than a standards/accesability approach which tends to hold back changes. I’d rather see a group of passionate DHTML developers with a real vision, a real drive for mature DHTML usage on the web, and which practice DHTML instead of only writing about it. Just my personal feelings with this step from WASP, but maybe I’m wrong, we’ll see.

  • M. Schopman

    Peter Paul, I think for real adaption (and understanding) the entire term DHTML or DOMSCRIPT should get rid off. They tend to focus to much on the technology aspect, instead of the total influence of Javascript on the web, or the end result. DHTML in its current form often gets related to bad performing/awfully written scripts distributed and in between copy/pasted too often.

    The difficulty however, is too define a solid term for this. You already see alot of bloggers posting entire messages about Ajax, while in fact they should have been talking about DHTML. Many just don’t know.

    So to prevent as much misunderstanding as possible I would indeed look for a solid, non blurry term which defines what it reflects. It however is difficult because it is so versatile.

  • M. Schopman

    Just saw there are indeed some passionate developers involved, so in that case I can only applaud it. Should have read the list of profiles first :)

  • Erik Arvidsson

    DOM Scripting is IMHO just slightly better than DHTML but is it really neccesary to change name at this stage? HTML was never renamed and it has been abused to no limit. All technologies goes through different stages and I think that the v4 era was not of purely evil. I think we all learned a lot about what to not do and we also learned a lot of different workarounds that unfortunately are still needed.

    I hope the DOM Scripting Task Force also tries to identify the cases where we still need clunky work arounds due to bugs or limitation in the existing APIs.

    Here is how I would describe DHTML (a bit glorified maybe;-))


    A way to make static web pages dynamic to improve the user experience. This allows pages to give instant feedback to user actions and it reduces the number of server round trips and page reloads thanks to remote scripting and client side data manipulation.

  • M. Schopman

    I think you should look at who you want to target. The developers, or the people selling it. If you want to target developers your description is a good start. If you target those who need to sell it you might have to look at something like:

    “A revised development model aimed at providing companies with better return on investment, lowering the total cost of ownership and by providing the necessary services resulting in a better user experience. The development model drastically limits the additional costs required nowadays in building professional scalable web applications, increases team productivity, and enables business leaders to decrease the time required for delivering user friendly web applications.”

    And of course some of it is bullshit in one way or another, but marketing is all about subtile bullshit. No marketing, no coverage. By keeping it a bit blurry you do not set any predefined expectations, but still get the attention of those who need to sell it.

  • ppk

    OK, so you’re basically saying that your DHTML is our DOM Scripting + AJAX. The “instant feedback” bit could be anything (style manipulation, DOM manipulation, AJAX).

    So the real question is: should we get rid of “DHTML”? My answer is still Yes, because it’s being associated with Netscape 4, sliding layers and total coolness without purpose.

    But that’s just the way I feel about DHTML.

    I’m not sure how to proceed. Would it be a total disaster for you to rename your scripts to “DOM Scripts”?

  • Erik Arvidsson

    Peter-Paul: What I’m saying is that DOM Scripting, DHTML and AJAX is the same thing with different names. If marketing wants to use DOM Scripting, or AJAX then go ahead. Personally I think a lot of people who came to the conclusion that DHTML is not the same as the v4 crap are being offended by all this “AJAX is cool, DHTML sucks” or “DOM Scripting is the way to go, DHTML is just that old annoying crap”.

    I don’t think it would be a total disaster to replace the word DHTML for DOM Scripting but I don’t really see the main benefit.

    I would be happy if you could rephrase the definition of DHTML to be a bit more realistic. Something like:


    This is the buzzword that was introduced with the version 4 browsers and it is often associated to animation and other disruptive DOM scripts that didn’t improve usability or functionality.

  • John Walker

    What a silly discussion!?! Javascript/DOM Scripting simply needs rise above the outdated models described above and deliver results. I’m doing it every day for my customers. As regards anyone scripting with document.layers objects- you are showing yur age!?! Technology simply moves forward. It’s not so complex- you’re either there or not.

  • Erik Arvidsson

    John: You are preaching to the coir here