How important is it to use JavaScript?

Provided by the Good News Web Designers Association

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1. The basic website needs nothing more than simple HTML code, as long as the graphics and layout are done well. Often, an animated .gif graphic can accomplish the same look as a JavaScript would. But the special effects provided by JavaScripts can add interactivity and tasks that assist visitors to your site.

2. Adding these features cause the page to take a little longer to download. And some viewers turn off their browsers' ability to handle JavaScripts. Balance the need for these Scripts with your desire to "show off." Don't give into the temptation to use it just because it exists. The rule of thumb should be: If the fancy feature can be replaced with something more basic and still get the job done, don't use JavaScript. But if you honestly need to add a little spice to the recipe, go for it.

3. When you first entered this page, you experienced a JavaScript. You were prompted to type in your name, and then the page greeted you with a personal welcome. If you look in the source code of this page (View menu > Source), you can copy the Script and use it yourself. Other simple Scripts that might be worth using are listed below.

 

4. Never rely on JavaScripts to do something essential. If someone's browser can't handle your program, what then?

To find out if a JavaScript will work on WebTV (some do not), which is also called "MSN TV" since Microsoft bought it, download the free WebTV Viewer from developer.msntv.com. The site includes tips on how to design your websites to work well for WebTV users. Includes news on the latest WebTV upgrades, developer forums, design checklist, etc.

5. Want to use a JavaScript that randomizes the page that a link will come up when the website visitor clinks on a link? Here's one, with instructions on how to add it to your html page.

6. Want to use a Mouseover Effect JavaScript? Here's an easy one!

 

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EXTRA TIPS

Many Java and JavaScript programs work perfectly in some browsers but not in others. Microsoft Web designing programs create Java applets and JavaScripts that  only work in Microsoft browsers. If you're going to use Java or JavaScript, find one not authored by MS. There are countless free JavaScripts available online (see list below for a few of the sites that provide Scripts).

Sources of free Java and JavaScripts:
Javascripts
Freecode
Cross Daily
Developer.com
Code Generators
JavaScript Source
WebMonkey
Web Design Library

If any of these links go bad, please report it!

Perl is another language that adds special features to webpages, but more difficult to manage. It requires having a brain that can learn programming and the use of a CGI bin on the server where your site is hosted. Scripture says, "Don't cast your perls before swine" and I sure turned into a grumpy pig when I tried to learn Perl! LOL! (Sorry for that lame pun.) Suffice it to say, some websites would definitely benefit from Perl, but many do not need it.
  

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