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Making a website more dynamic using Javascript

I have used Javascript quite a bit in the past, but not so much recently. My first programming in Javascript was shortly after the first release 1.0 during 1996 when I was able to develop an early interactive quiz (since replaced by the server side program used on first aid quiz website). The quiz first went live on the Internet during 1997, but I’d had it running on my own machine since summer 1996 (my Internet access was mainly through university / work prior to then as the web was still an expensive option at home).

At the time programming with Javascript was very hard due to the lack of adherence to standards during the browser wars (Internet Explorer is still some way behind the other browsers with following the official standards although it’s a lot better now). In part due to these incompatibilities and also as I considered Javascript a bit light-weight I moved on to server side programming instead, just using Javascript for the odd bit where I needed something to run on the client side (e.g. popup error messages on the clients computer).

Javascript has in recent times made a big come-back with the introduction of AJAX (used a lot by Google and Mapping websites), but I’ve been working mainly with server side or Flash (see my Flash based Hangman Game on the first aid quiz website). I wanted to create a simple slide-show (it’s for work really, but it’s something I’m doing in my own time so I’ve worked it out at home) and my first thought was to create it in Flash. The reason I didn’t use flash is because I think it would need quite a bit of work to create it; I discovered that I could do the same thing in Javascript using less than 25 lines of code. It’s not as good as can be achieved using flash, but it fulfills my requirement without spending months programming.

It’s now got me thinking that perhaps I could do a lot more by trying to use a bit more Javascript in my html pages, although care does need to be taken to not let it reduce the accessibility of the site.