Dynamic Drive: The Story Behind the Free HTML and JavaScript Code Library and Its 16-Year Impact on the Dev Community

Dynamic Drive: The Story Behind the Free HTML and JavaScript Code Library and Its 16-Year Impact on the Dev Community

TL; DR: In 2000, the web was just beginning to grow up. Initially composed of static pages and text-only experiences, it now featured sites containing lively, multimedia elements. Developers and site owners needed a quick means of implementing such functionalities — a source from which to learn and grab snippets of JavaScript and HTML. So, George Chang launched Dynamic Drive, a site that now houses a repository of thousands of lines of code and a community forum encouraging collaboration between coders. Sure, other sites on the web now offer free scripts, but George was the first to make these available to novice webmasters looking to add dynamic elements to their sites. As long as people are using Dynamic Drive as a resource for web development, George plans on continuing his efforts to update and provide new scripts for the dev community.

Contemporary researchers have found the benefits of bilingual education can include improved executive functioning skills, increased empathy, enhanced reading abilities, and expanded cognitive capability. Instructors and professors note bilingual students are more open to new ideas and learning methods.

Language education and enhancing people’s lives in such ways have always been passions for George Chang. He is currently seeking to complete a TESOL diploma so he can teach English — but that’s not the only language George’s students learn from him. In 2000, George launched his site, Dynamic Drive, to act as a repository where developers could source snippets of what was then generally referred to as DHTML, which was essentially a broad term that encapsulated HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Screenshot of Dynamic Drive homepage

George Chang created Dynamic Drive in response to developer demand for a library of cut-and-paste scripts.

Dynamic Drive’s library contains thousands of lines of code developers can simply cut and paste to create tools and features for their sites. Today, the Githubs and NPMs of the world also offer free scripts — but George was the innovator. At a time when the web was evolving from static, text-only experiences, he was the first to give beginning coders an easy way to invigorate their sites with dynamic elements.

A Site By a Teacher of Many Languages — From English to JavaScript

When Dynamic Drive was launched more than 16 years ago, the Internet had just come of age, and with the advent of DHTML, static pages of text had become archaic. This led to the popularity of George’s first site, JavaScriptKit.com, which provided a platform for beginners to learn the coding language.

However, through interaction with visitors to his site, it quickly became clear to George that there was a high demand for a JavaScript repository that didn’t just focus on providing tutorials.

“Dynamic Drive was created to provide webmasters with useful JavaScript snippets to quickly add extra functionality to their sites just by cutting and pasting some code,” George said.

Screenshot of Universal Countdown script and Dynamic Drive logo

Dynamic Drive houses a repository of scripts developers can use to build just about any site feature.

Because it was a unique resource at the time, the response to Dynamic Drive’s launch was resounding and swift.

“I was fresh out of college and having a blast learning about JavaScript and sharing that knowledge on my first site,” he said. “Dynamic Drive was born after that…and the traffic overtook JavaScriptKit.com in just a few months.”

In the years since, Dynamic Drive has received multiple awards, including HostingAdvice’s Developers’ Choice™ award for evangelizing dynamic scripts, ranking on PCWorld’s Top 100 Most Useful Sites, and MSDN’s Developer Award. Today, George’s site continues to store and present useful scripts that developers around the world are employing.

Thousands of Snippets of JS and HTML — From DD Whois to Drop-Downs

George told us a drop-down menu, later rewritten and labeled as Anylink, was included in the first round of scripts posted on Dynamic Drive.

“Some scripts have long been retired, and others have gone through many iterations to keep up with browser compatibility and feature requests,” he said.

George now spends about a third of his working time fulfilling those requests on Dynamic Drive, adding new or updated scripts to the site at least twice per month. The results of his work are thousands of code snippets developers can use to enhance their sites.

Just a few of the scripts available on Dynamic Drive are:

  • AdBlock Checker & Notifier
  • Priority+ Scrolling MenuDD Scroll Boxes
  • DD Scroll BoxesYouTube/Vimeo Outro
  • YouTube/Vimeo OutroZoomio
  • Zoomio (jQuery in-place image zoom)
  • Hamburger Icon Menu
  • Sticky Content
  • Sugar Drop-In Bar
  • Image Figure Caption Effects
  • DD Full Screen Slider
  • Scrollable Content
  • Power List Menu

While George can’t pick a favorite, he does have an affinity for some of the codes he’s created. One of these is DD Whois, a domain search tool he wrote after reading how similar services track and record user Whois searches.

“Whether the tracking was true or not, the project was a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a tool I personally still use when researching domain names.”

DD Forum Provides a Community of Developers Sharing Best Practices

Most of the scripts on Dynamic Drive are written by George. However, he does sometimes have help from members of the DD Forum. George noted that moderators and other key members, such as @jscheuer1, have made invaluable contributions over the years.

Screenshot of the Dynamic Drive Forum

The Dynamic Drive Forum is a popular place for coders to collaborate on solutions to site and feature building.

Developers in the Dynamic Drive community visit the forums to acquire information about ASP and CSS scripting, Flash, creating and editing web graphics, HTML coding, JavaScript, PHP, and more. To say the forum is a popular resource would be an understatement, as, to date, there are almost 300,000 posts scattered throughout its various sections.

One forum member was having an issue with scrolling text starting over as it hit the left side of an element, so he asked the community for help. A few posts later, his problem was resolved by another member who sent revised code and provided a free JR Screen Ruler to make elements on the page fit. This represents just one of the thousands of examples where members of Dynamic Drive’s community come together to collaborate on solutions for site building.

An Innovator in the JS Landscape Continues to Be a Valuable Resource

In the early days of Dynamic Drive, George was often surprised when he would stumble upon one of his menu or slideshow scripts being employed by prominent sites like CNN or Walmart. These large organizations were using his codes because he innovated script-sharing online — there were no other sources.

George is a teacher at heart and surely gets a great sense of accomplishment out of helping others expand their skill sets. Whether that is accomplished through teaching English or JavaScript, he has no plans of stopping.

“These days there are so many other ways and places to get JavaScript code snippets such as via a WordPress plugin, NPM, Github, et cetera. Dynamic Drive is just another resource,” George said. “As long as I feel there are enough people still benefiting from the site’s offerings, I will continue to actively maintain and work on it.”

Sean Garrity

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