Web Workshop issue 154 - IE5 Part 2

More on authoring for Internet Explorer 5.0 this month, as we show you how to create your own tags, and investigate IE5's Persistence Behaviors (no, they're not a timeshare sales technique, they're 'super-cookies' which let you store data on your users' hard disks!). Paul Stephens

Custom Tags
Data Persistence
Paul's Pages
You'll find some exotic descriptions of XML (eXtensible Markup Language) on the Web, but for me at least, the phrase "tags you make up yourself" sums it up. IE5 has built-in XML support, which means you can declare your own tagnames at the start of a document, then use them like ordinary HTML tags in the document body.

The effect is really no different to associating standard HTML tags (such as <DIV>s) with style classes, but the tags look impressive, and have the advantage of being completely ignored by other browsers, making them a good way to implement IE5-only event handling routines. The Custom Tags Guide explains all, with examples. 
Since the introduction of JavaScript (Netscape 2.0/IE 3.0) the main browsers have supported cookies, a way of storing small amounts of data on browsers users' hard disks (see PC Plus issue 129 for details). IE5 still supports cookies, but also has a new alternative - data persistence. Persistence comes in four types, three of them special-purpose and one a general-purpose system that breaks through the cookies' 4K maximum data size limit. 

The special-purpose persistence features let you add data to IE5 Favorites (bookmark) files, make pages 'remember' object properties as you browse between them, and embed data in the web page source files created by IE's Save As command. The general-purpose persistence feature lets you store simple data items and retrieve them in other pages, just like cookies, but allows a more generous 64K of data per page, and 640K per web site domain. It can also create multi-level structured  XML data stores - although I've stuck to simple data items here! See the Persistence Guide for details.

Most of Microsoft's  IE-related website pages have moved around yet again, but seem to have found a permanent home now. Check out my updated selection of IE5 authoring-related pages, including relocated  'what's new' pages and the massive Site Builder Workshop sections - now renamed Web Workshop!. 

Until next month, happy authoring!

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