Analyst Hyperbole Of The Day: Go AJAX Or Die

from the oh-please dept

When you go to a supposed expert, such as an analyst, they should help you to cut through the hype -- not puff up the hype even more. Unfortunately, all too often we see that analyst firms are simply a big part of the hype cycle. Take, for example, this article about AJAX technology (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) which is all the rage these days among Web 2.0 companies. A Gartner analyst has now been quoted saying that websites need to use AJAX or they won't get traffic any more. Specifically, he says that sites that don't use AJAX, "will simply not be cool enough to use." This is from someone who is supposedly an expert, who others look to for advice. Obviously the various technologies that make up AJAX can be quite useful, but whatever happened to not focusing on the technology, but what the technology actually does? Sure, some sites are probably going to be better off using AJAX in one way or another, but it really depends on what the application or service is supposed to do. To give a blanket recommendation to use AJAX in all cases doesn't seem particularly analytical -- but does pump up the hype.
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  1. identicon
    Mighty Afro Whitey, 15 Jun 2006 @ 9:25pm

    Of all the things to not like about AJAX

    None of them have anything to do with faults of AJAX but instead deal with the faults of the programmer. Though comments are not the best forum for this discussion, I'm going to rant anyway.

    "AJAX prevents users from navigating forward and backward in a site."

    Wrong. Flat out wrong. People who develop and ajaxian site without implementing a homegrown or third-party navigation system are the reason this is the number one grudge against said sites. It has nothing to do with AJAX and EVERYTHING to do with a terrible implementation. Javascript has full control over disabling the browsers default back button and keep a history of page posts, you can implement your own back button in the webpage itself. One that is smarter and more efficient than the default browsers back button, might I add.

    In addition, bookmarking is actually better in a well designed site. Though it's usually overlooked, you can implement favorites with url parameters that tell the application where to start from, all the while allowing certain sections that need to be up to date to be updated without user intervention.

    What's so limited with AJAX? Name something Flex can do but javascript & html can't? Or flash for that matter? It might be easier to implement flashy animation in those languages but javascript can do the same, and there a few third party libraries that do it quite well and quite fast. But those technologies are not polar to AJAX designs.

    And people act like a majority of browsers don't have javascript enabled. What if people don't have flex installed or don't have a computer fast enough to handle flash, or a browser that supports it for that matter. That's all crap, a majority of people have javascript enabled, far more than those who have flex installed, and it will probably stay that way. You could say "all that hard work gone" or you could say "hey dumbass user, enable javascript or use our slow, clunky bandwidth sucking version of our website" which is exactly what you have to do with flash and flex.

    It's like saying the .Net framework sucks because all I've ever seen was a shitty calculator application. Thank god for Google who's been able to show such a vast audience what's possible. And sadly, google only touches the surface of what's to come. Centralized shareable desktops accessibly from anywhere in the world with all of the applications needed to get business done, all completely interconnected is what web 2.0 will attain. Although by then there will be some other buzz word attributed to it.

    Application Hosting IS a major part of the future of the web, and AJAX will be a MAJOR part of that sector. So many things benefit from a good implementation, shopping carts, web based applications like email clients, calendars, spreadsheets, database managers, hosting administration panels, etc.

    I don't agree with the article's viewpoint that you need it to survive in all cases on the web (Blogs really have no need for it), but I can assure you that with respect to competition between two sites offering similar services, a good implementation of AJAX would be the deciding factor in who gets the customer.

    I've been developing sites/applications like this for three years now, and though there is a lot to learn about good implementations, once you have it you'd never want to develop a web app without it. For reasons other than just the user experience too, the amount of reduced redundant code, reduced bandwidth and improved speed are well worth it to companies and developers.

    Things will only improve in this field at a rate akin to the IT industry as a whole - exponentially.

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