what are css and dhtml?

A look at the internet programming languages, DHTML and CSS.

Internet technology has come a long way in the past few years. Things that were pretty much impossible as recently as ten years ago are now commonplace, and the intricacies of advanced web design are now becoming so streamlined and simplified that even the most technophobic of people can create their own presence on the web.

A large part of this website renaissance was the creation of simple-yet-advanced technologies that made web design more customizable. Newer languages such as Dynamic HTML (or DHTML, for short) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) have brought customization of websites to the forefront of internet programming.

DHTML is an extension of the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), but is leaps and bounds beyond its predecessor. DHTML allows for layers (in other words, having certain aspects of a webpage, such as graphics or text, "higher" on the page than others, so that they can be overlapped or even movable), as well as the static placement of items on the screen (which means that instead of a picture or other item appearing where the browser puts it because of where it appears in the program file, it can be given specific coordinates on the screen where it will always go.) Of course, in addition to the various dynamic elements that have been added to DHTML, the basic programming structure of HTML still lies at its heart... that way, webmasters can use the skills and knowledge that they've acquired before and enhance it to make their websites shine.

CSS can be used with DHTML to make web design simpler yet more powerful at the same time. Style sheets enable a web designer to create complex effects on multiple pages without having to actually repeat those effects on each page... all of the information for formatting the page is placed in a file known as a style sheet, and then can be referenced from another page. The information contained within the style sheet is displayed on the new page just as though it was coded on that page, without the additional file size or hassle of actually placing the information on the page. The term "cascading" in Cascading Style Sheets refers to the fact that the style sheets can cover multiple pages, and several can be used together on the same page.

The real wonders of DHTML and CSS are how well they can be used together. Layers created in DHTML can be defined using multiple style sheets... this can create effects ranging from multiple drop-down or roll-out menus, graphic effects, or even free-moving elements on a webpage. Dynamically placed elements can be defined or modified by style sheets, and style sheets can even be written using DHTML elements so as to place them on every page of a website. The possibilities are just about limitless when it comes to using DHTML and CSS together on a website. Combining DHTML and CSS with other web technologies can increase their usefulness even further... Java, JavaScript, and even XML all can work readily with websites created using DHTML and style sheets.

Should you wish to learn more about DHTML and CSS, a variety of tutorials, texts, and references exist both commercially and online. If you've ever wanted to learn how to create awe-inspiring website effects, these technologies are a great place to start.

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