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The DOM which stands for Document Object Module is a way of representing different document formats and application program interfaces on a web page. It was developed back during the 1990’s browser wars that went on between the Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Netscape Navigator Browsers. The most common of the battles during this war was that of JavaScipt and Jscript; both built on the same premise but in slightly different manners.

It was in 1996 that Netscape Navigator 2.0 would be released with JavaScipt and in the same exact year, Microsoft countered with the release of IE 3.0 that came with Jscript. In both cases, this created client side integration into the webpage allowing for the first time, user interactivity; though it was very limited. These very first releases of both Jscript and JavaScript would become known as Legacy DOM and these did not have any form of standard that wee introduced with them either.

These DOM level 0 scripting languages were very limited and only allowed interaction with forms, images and links. Of course it was this interactivity with images that created the first image roll-overs allowing web developers to finally create a website that was something other than just plain text.

The following year, both Navigator and Internet Explorer launched their versions 4.0 simultaneously. They now had the built-in support for dynamic pages giving birth to DHTML. In order for this dynamic HTML web page to function, it needed the document object module to bring in the client-side scripting language that the page was developed with. Since both Jscript as well as JavaScript are based on the same Java platform and concepts, much of the DOM implementation was interchangeable between the two browsers. However while the implementation was interchangeable, the extensions were not as they were developed not to be. In other words, it forced web developers to design the website for one and only one browser rather than all of them.

It was not until the1994 standardisation of the document object module by the World Wide Web Consortium that cross browser compatibility would start to come into play. This brought the two together in an attempt to settle the war once and for all. They had requested that each developer create a standard for their DOMs together and what resulted was the ECMAScript.

Finally by 1998, DOM Level 1 was finally standardised by the W3C which happened to coincide with the shipment of IE 5. Unfortunately there was very limited support for the DOM level 1 commands. Furthermore, many people were still using the older versions of the browsers to access the web which made it even harder for cross-browser compatibility to occur.

By 2000 though, DOM level 2 was introduced and along with it the get ElementById function. This function was basically an added support for the W3C’s pet projects of CSS and XML. Furthermore, the most currently released version is DOM level 3 which was released back in 2004 adding keyboard event handlers to the languages.

Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 09/02/2009


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