Everybody who knows me knows my feelings on doing complex WebGUI. In short i think it is stupid - and also i have never met a developer yet who can show me a robust and simple way of managing the events of a web page. It is always, always fixes like; hidden fields, setting stuff in prerender etc etc.
So my personal opinion of this is - don’t do it! Web is for simple stuff. The moment a request about a tab control or thing posting back is being said I would raise a big warning flag. You’ll get into trouble. (Of course I can only speak for ASP.NET, and love to be convinced otherwise).
Luckily there is help on the way.
- You could either stick with simple HTML and use [ASP.NET MVC](http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2007/10/14/asp-net-mvc-framework.aspx) which removes all the crazy event-handling from the ASP.NET WebForm model. Basically this solution could be called “Someone Else’s Problem” since someone have to figure out the web page. But they can go crazy with it, separate from the logic. You are providing a controller form the design-folks to use. The person most appropriate for the job - in my case anyway.
- Another way is to design the application as an [Sliverlight application](http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2008/02/22/first-look-at-silverlight-2.aspx). This gives you the opportunity to really go crazy with the layout. With Silverlight you can do anything you can do in a Windows Form, design wise, and more. For the client the download of the [Silverlight executable](http://silverlight.net/) is done in seconds and then the application is run in the browser.
As you might notice both these suggestions are explained by my new house god Scott Gutrie ([ScottGu](http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/)). He seems to have something to say about almost everything in our area. Check him out - well worth the time.