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Tip of the Day
Language: Web
Expertise: Intermediate
Mar 5, 1999

Layers or DIVs?

The world of DHTML is a chaotic one right now. Netscape Navigator 4.x and Internet Explorer 4.x have sufficiently different implementations of the Document Object Model (DOM) that cross-browser DHTML development is a real challenge.

A major benefit of DHTML is the ability to wall off an area on the page and treat it as an object, with its own properties and positioning. In Navigator this area is called a <LAYER>; in IE it's a <DIV>. In any cross-browser DHTML document, the first thing to determine is whether the client browser is reading layers or DIVs. You can figure that out with JavaScript:

 
if (document.all) {
	myBrowser = "IE";
	docObj = document.all;
} else if (document.layers) {
	myBrowser = "NN";
	docObj = document.layers;
}
You can then use the myBrowser and docObj variables throughout the program to write the correct term for each browser. You still have to make sure your DIVs and layers have compatible behaviors, but that's a different story.
Steve Renaker
 
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