The Ajax Problem

I wont deny not being inspired by Alex Bosworth and Jeremy Keith, but I think that Ajax has become some what of a problem. As buzzwords go it has gotten way out of hand. There are even debates about what makes an application Ajax. Some say it only needs to use the XHR methods, others say it must pass XML.

Then there are the JSON posers who stick their nose up at the mention of Ajax. Their reasoning that their webapps don’t use Ajax, they pass native JSON objects, which are faster. But then when they are asked how they pass data, admit to using XHR. But, they all look down their noses at anyone who uses flat HTML, and wouldn’t even scrape their shoes on a site that doesn’t use CSS or JS. I read an article in Linux journal Battle of the Ajax Mail Packages. I ask myself why does Ajax have to do with mail?

There are all kinds of buzz words that have gotten attention: Push, real-time, SOAP, DHTML, XML … and they are all a part of our vocabulary now. At one time or another they all were the basis of hundreds of purchases. I have even been moved to ‘sell’ a concept with the Ajax buzzword. Ajax is a leap forward in web design, and people are so busy in thinking if the can use Ajax, they don’t stop to think if they should.

When do you make an application a fat client? That is a choice I have a hard time making. I can develop faster and add features sooner when it is a web based application. There is no code roll, so I save time in supporting the installer and the application. Although the difference in function to the user isn’t much there is more time involved in a client deployment.

This may lead one to think that a client application deployment is more thought out. Maybe you tend to be more careful when you deploy an application this way. Really? I’m not so sure. The same poor choices are made by the same bad decision makers weather it happens fast or slow. The problem there lies in procedure and engineering. “Ajax Applications” seem to be lacking emphasis on this. In fact a application may exists simply because it is just that, what they call an “Ajax Application”. I hope we look back on 2005 and 2006 to see that we made the right choices, Ajax or not. Does a good application require Ajax? Is the fat client dead? A good application does not need to stand on buzzwords.
Give me a thought out app or become vaporware!


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