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Surviving the Web Shift : Page 4

Five Issues that Still Fell Good Developers.


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3. Updating Pages
A third problem is the issue of how to refresh dynamic Web site pages with updated information from the server. If you have small areas of the screen that are supposed to be interactive and are constantly changing, you face the challenge of providing the user with an updated display and connecting to the server. At first, developers tried to use HTML frames as a solution, but frames are not portable and are quickly falling out of common usage. The next potential solution was to use applets, small Java programs that are embedded in HTML pages and execute on the client. But applets, too, have a tragic flaw: they are slow to download.

Developers have also tried to use Javascripts as a solution. The problem is that when the client is executed, its actions will not matter unless the server can connect to it. Javascripts seem to make the page dynamic, but all they really do is mimic dynamic interactivity because if you don't have a reliable method of saving information from the page, whatever happened with the script is irrelevant. After users modify the page and everything looks right, they need to click the Submit button, which tells the server to perform the actions they wanted; without this functionality, all the information is lost. On the other hand, when you write client/server applications you control the connection between the client and server because users can immediately register to the server what they are doing. Even if the application dies, the server will know what the user has done until the last moment. Client/server applications are therefore more intuitive to use because they provide a constant connection to the server.



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