Web Workshop - Internet Explorer 5.0

IE5 is with us at last, bring authoring goodies which range from fast-rendering tables to the enigmatically-named DHTML Behaviors. Our two-part look at using them starts here! Paul Stephens

Dynamic Properties
Conditional Comments
Paul's Pages
IE5 doesn't contain any mould-breaking new authoring features on the scale of IE4's Dynamic HTML, but that's only to be expected. Nevertheless, there's something for everyone its list of HTML and scripting improvements, and I'll be looking at them all in the next two Web Workshops.

I've warmed up this month with a few minor IE5 features. You can now associate a tag with multiple style classes, there are new table formatting options, and you can now call IE's print dialog directly from a script. See the Warm-Ups Guide for details.

On to heavier things, the first of IE5's major new authoring features is Dynamic Properties. Object properties have been dynamically updateable since IE4, but these are even more dynamic than that. You can now give a property an initial value based on a calculated expression, and have IE5 automatically update it if the values of any of the items referenced in the expression change. You can even switch a property between dynamic and static states. See the Dynamic Properties Guide for details.

The other IE5 authoring biggie this month is DHTML Behaviors - crazy name, but brilliant feature. Behaviors let you add custom properties, methods and events to ordinary HTML tags, so if you want an <IMG> tag with a flyoffscreen() method, then you can have it. Behaviors are disk files, and they're reuseable, so once you've written the code to extend one tag, you can apply it as many others as you like. Details are in the DHTML Behaviors Guide. Keeping browser-specific HTML code away from other browsers is normally a nightmare, but it's easy to do with HTML for IE5 - all is revealed in the Conditional Comments demonstration page.

As you might expect, Netscape's website doesn't have much coverage of IE5 authoring, but Microsoft's has huge volumes of the stuff. To get started, try my selection of IE5 authoring-related pages, including quick 'what's new' pages and the massive Site Builder Workshop sections. Finally, don't forget that my own website has a new URL, at www.paulspages.co.uk. The actual site is still at web.ukonline.uk, but I've registered my own domain name, and arranged for calls to it to be redirected to the real server. How did I do that? Find out soon in Web Workshop!

Until next month, happy authoring!

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