Microsoft has revealed a new technology within IE 4.0 that will allow Webmasters to reuse dynamic HTML code in a similar way to the way object-oriented programmers reuse components. The scripting components, or scriptlets, will let web page developers create reusable dynamic HTML objects.
Scriptlets will benefit corporate Web developers who want to create a standard set of objects, such as banners, menus or logos and only want to write them once. Scriptlets are created in an HTML page by using the OBJECT tag which calls the scriptlet and any supporting HTML files. They are fully compatible with HTML 4.0 and are based on Microsoft's Document Object Model.
Scriptlets control what you see on an interactive page: for example; the range of movement for an animation or the position an item should take on a screen. Even special effects such as transitions or fade outs are handled by the programmer, once only. The attributes of the item describe colours, fonts and font sizes and can all be modified to change their appearance without changing the scriptlet itself. Once the scriptlet has been used by the machine it is cached, thus increasing system performance.
Mike Pryke Smith, product manager at Microsoft, sees a rosy future for scriptlets. "Scriptlets are essentially components, using components is a good thing," he says, "it allows you to encapsulate pieces of logic so you can re-use them. That means developers will have access to re-useable pieces of DHTML."
The plan is, according to Smith, for developers to have a bundle of pre-defined scriptlets that can be used again and again to create similar functions on different sites. "There is no reason why we can't have third-party component vendors building ready made scriptlets," he added.
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