I want you to imagine yourself diving out of an aeroplane at 10,000 metres above sea level after spending all day in a library. What does that feel like?
It feels like a big change. Even for book lovers – and I am one – the sensation of the wind rushing through your hair and the sight of the ground rushing up to meet you is likely to get the heart pumping much faster than even the most exciting adventure novel.
But it was – looking back – a little dull, too. At least, as far as presentation and interactivity was concerned. This wasn’t just because of the low speeds associated with dial-up Internet.Web pages were basic and most of your interaction with a site involved navigating between different text-heavy pages.
Interactive games, maps, and other dynamic features were almost unheard of.
So, what happened?
But this raises another important question. What is dynamic content?
Dynamic content is any content that can change on a webpage without the need to hit refresh. To make the difference between static and dynamic content clearer, let’s look at an example of each.
What is Static Content?
If you have to hit ‘refresh’ to see new information, you’re viewing static content. Let me tell you a sad story to explain further.
When I was in an English secondary school during the 2002 football World Cup (okay, soccer, for you Americans – and yes, I’m showing my age) we were all very frustrated not to be able to watch the matches live. Instead, we had to sit in class and try to focus on trigonometry.
It wasn’t just the kids who were frustrated, either. The teachers hated it, too. But this was back in the days before most schools – or even homes and businesses – had sufficiently fast internet connections for live streaming of television over the Internet.
Most broadcasters didn’t even offer a live streaming feature, anyway. The best you could get were usually short clips of important moments a few seconds long.
But they did have blogs. If we students behaved ourselves, our teacher – who was keeping an eye on the football on the BBC Sport website – would tell us how the matches were going. This being the World Cup, things usually weren’t going great for England.
The new words that appeared on the page after each refresh announcing that – yes – Brazil had scored again, were an example of static content. As were the pictures of England fans in tears after having spent hundreds of pounds and travelled all the way to Japan only to see their team lose. Cue the sad music.
What is dynamic content?
Dynamic content is any on page feature that doesn’t require a human to click ‘refresh’ for the information displayed to update. To make this clearer, let’s leave 2002 behind us and zip forward a very busy eighteen years.
It’s then night of November 3rd 2020. The United States’ presidential election is being held. As is normal, it’s a nail-biter, whatever your politics. But unlike most recent races, we didn’t get a clear result the next day. In fact, despite Biden having an early advantage, it wasn’t until November 7th that most national American media organizations were willing to call the election in his favor.
While many people will have been following the election on TV, staying up all night on a diet of coffee and sugary snacks, most young people – assuming they were interested – followed the news on mobile native news apps or social media.
When it comes to following the news, it’s no secret that Twitter is one of the most popular sources among the politically engaged population. Those interested in following how the tense situation developed could follow along there without furiously mashing the refresh button.
So when a particular President tweeted something alarming, confusing, outrageous, or all three, all an astonished Twitter user needed to do to keep up was sit in front of their screen and gaze in horror or amusement at the unfolding chaos.
Building interactive websites and webpages
Indeed, that’s how most of the web used to be – a dry series of web pages written in HTML connected by hyperlinks with few interactive elements to speak of.
Creating web and mobile applications
For example, the fintech (financial technology) space is one of the most lucrative areas of digital product development. But if you thought those tech-savvy finance bros were using some kind of special, only-for-the-super-rich programming language to build their platforms, you’d be wildly off the mark.
Developing browser-based and standalone games
While many games are relatively simple and free to play, like the racing game HexGL, some paid games have met with critical acclaim.
If you’d like to take advantage of recent innovations in software development – including the exciting Jamstack architecture – we’d like to help. You can contact us whether you’re looking for advice on how to get started with a development project or you’d just like to get things moving. We’ll be happy to hear from you.
Hello! I'm the head of content at Develocraft. I'm also a startup guy (no joke)! I've worked with a lot of them and learned so much. I'm here to help you by sharing that knowledge. I'm always open to collaborations. Find me on LinkedIn.