A short description of WebDNA tags
A WebDNA tag exists on its own just like an HTML tag, with one major exception: It never "exists" as far as a browser is concerned. Instead, WebDNA replaces it with text before being served to the browser. Think of WebDNA tags as server tags, and HTML tags as browser tags.
Like standalone HTML tags, WebDNA tags are replaced with some value. However, unlike HTML tags, the value used to replace a WebDNA tag is dynamic and can change depending upon the situation. This dynamic replacement makes your web pages much more active and interesting. It also means less time will be spent updating pages manually.
Let's look at an example of using a WebDNA tag to display the current date on a page. In HTML, the following normal text is needed:
Today's date is 07/27/08.
However, in order to be accurate, the page would need to be edited every day to insert the correct date; this amounts to a waste of time and of course no one would really go to that length. What is really needed is a way to make the date update itself automatically, using the following simple WebDNA tag:
Today's date is [date].
WebDNA tags are not enclosed by angle brackets (< >). Instead, WebDNA tags are enclosed with square brackets ([ ]). Tags were designed this way intentionally to avoid possible confusion between HTML tags and to make code easier to read. In the above example, when a browser requests the page, the [date] tag is replaced by WebDNA on-the-fly with the correct date value. Going further, if you had HTML bold tags wrapped around the word "date", the template could look like the following:
Today's date is <b>[date]</b>.
All of your WebDNA tags are replaced by WebDNA with their proper values, and any HTML tags are left intact before being returned to the browser:
Today's date is <b>07/27/2008</b>.
Finally, the browser displays the text (on July 27, 2008) as:
Today's date is 07/27/2008