Creating a Cross-Browser (DOM) Expandable Tree

by Volker Weber

As a user interface designer for Web applications, I find that there is a constant need (read: demand) for certain UI components across the board. The most commonly requested component is an expandable/collapsible tree, often referred to as an explorer tree (referring to its use in Microsoft Windows Explorer).

Previously, it could take a lot of time and effort to create a tree that could work in both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. With recent improvements in Internet Explorer and Netscape, however, it is possible to make an expandable tree without needing any browser detection whatsoever.

This article will focus on building a JavaScript tree. The target browsers for this tree are Internet Explorer 5.0 and Netscape 6.1 (Netscape 6.0 had many bugs that could affect the proper display of the tree). This tree will be built with cross-browser code that works on both IE5 and NS6, so that the code requires no browser detection to work on these two browsers (note that if your users may still be using IE4 or NS4, you will need to do an additional browser detect to see if you can use the code in this article).


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