Web applications have come a long way since the release of Netscape
Navigator 2.0, the first web browser to have a scripting language
first time to manipulate their web pages directly in the user’s browser. From those
humble beginnings arose the Document Object Model, a full-fledged specification
of standard methods and properties for working with HTML and XML data.
The need for a standard API for working with these types of documents became
clear almost immediately after HTML and XML technologies began to catch on with
the Internet development community. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
realized that the types of operations needed to work with these documents were
common enough that they could be specified in a portable way, allowing different
document-processing application vendors to offer a standard interface. This, in turn,
allowed developers to focus their energies on building their applications rather than
figuring out which browser or platform they would need to port their work to.
With this book, you learn to use the DOM to work with HTML and XML data in
a variety of settings, including web browsers, server-side applications, and consumer
client applications. The DOM is language independent, so you don’t need to worry
about learning an unfamiliar programming language. The DOM is also available in
most of the web browsers in use today, such as Internet Explorer 5 and later and
Netscape Navigator 6 and later (and Mozilla 1.0 and later), so finding a place to test
your applications should be easy. You also learn the different ways of manipulating
documents and their content, how to provide the user with new kinds of user interfaces,
and how to help lighten the server’s load by moving some processing to the client.