Simon Willison’s Weblog

Labels.js

Spotted on youngpup: Labels.js: A Re-Introduction to DHTML (from December 2001).

Although simple, Labels.js is an example of my ideal DHTML script, and an example of what I believe the W3C had in mind for the DOM. Some of the design goals that it meets are:

  • Completely modular design. Labels.js uses event listeners exclusively to avoid interference with any other scripts or functionality. It does not require any special “initialization”, and it does not modify it’s environment.
  • Unitializes itself before page unload so that a label will never be submitted as the value of a form field to a server process. This is consistent with the idea of complete modularity.
  • Built on the DOM. Instead of using it’s own complex custom object heirarchies, Labels.js is essentially glue code stringing together the existing functionality in the DOM.
  • Does not require any extra presentational or behavioral information beyond what is present in the underlying XHTML.
  • Degrades beautifully to it’s structural components: a label and a textbox.

The same elegant approach to DHTML can be seen in Stuart’s aqTree javascript tree system.

This is Labels.js by Simon Willison, posted on 10th September 2002.

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Previously hosted at http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2002/09/10/labels