Creating Dynamic User Services Components

In tutorial 12, we discussed ways to present XML data in a Web browser using XSL, XSL Transformations (XSLT), and cascading style sheets (CSS). These technologies allowed us to create user services components that could present users with information located in XML documents. Up to this point, the browser-based user services components we have built were not dynamic—that is, they did not allow the user to interact with the information being presented in the interface.

If we want the user to be able to interact with the browser-based interface, we will need to add script to our user services components that can respond to the user's input and provide information to the user based on this input.

In this tutorial, we'll discuss how to use Dynamic HTML (DHTML) to create dynamic Web-based user services components. DHTML allows you to embed scripts written in either the VBScript or JScript programming languages into an HTML page. Using DHTML, you can create Web pages that contain fully functioning user services components that allow information to be passed back and forth between the user and the system. We'll also use the XML Data Source Object (DSO) in DHTML pages. The XML DSO, which shipped as part of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, is specifically designed for creating Web-based XML applications. The XML DSO enables you to bind HTML elements to structured XML data using DHTML's data-binding facility. First let's take a look at DHTML.