W3C approves specification for Web site scripting

Seeking to establish an industry standard for Web site scripting, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the Document...

Seeking to establish an industry standard for Web site scripting, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 HTML specification as a W3C Recommendation. This is in effect endorsement as a W3C standard.

The specification provides for a language-neutral interface to allow programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure, and style of HTML and XHTML 1.0 documents, according to W3C.

The specification is intended as a standard API for manipulating HTML and XHTML 1.0 documents and data through a programming language such as Java or ECMAscript, W3C said.

Version 2.0 will support for XHTML documents, in which DOM now can be used to manipulate both XML-based XHTML or HTML. Also key to Version 2.0 is support for frames, in which content of a page is divided into several parts and objects.

Use of DOM Level 2.0 "means you don't have to write multiple scripts to manipulate an HTML document", said WC3 spokesperson Janet Daly.

"There's one uniform application programming interface," she said.

Support for DOM is needed in browsers, but much of the support needed for DOM Level 2.0 already exists.

An analyst, however, said while the specification could yield better Web browsers, support still is needed.

"DOM Level 2 is the latest rev of this model," said Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink.

"While this is important for the developer crowd, the user population as a whole won't really have much interaction with the DOM. It really is up to Web browser vendors like Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, and the like to add this functionality to their products. So, we will need to wait until this makes its way into products before we can see any benefit," he said.

DOM will allow the user to produce better Web browsers that can do more interactive features without having to download lots of plug-ins or use proprietary browser technology for certain aspects of dynamic HTML, Schmetzer added.

However, he noted that the specification is not downward-compatible, which means developers using DOM Level 2 will not be building products compatible with current DOM browser technology and this could be a problem.

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