in Development

Is Ajax Going the Way of the Dinosour?

AjaxI’m sitting here at BarCamp Phoenix and one of the things I keep hearing is that Ajax has been overused. People think it has been used too much. In a way, I think they’re right. Look at any web app these days and you’ll see a significant rise in Ajax usage.

Ajax creates a benefit and a problem. The good side is that Ajax lets you do things with data without needing to refresh the page. The flip side is that every instance is a surprise to first time users. They never know exactly what to expect.

So there it is, the one interesting trend I saw at Barcamp. I’ll have to keep listening.

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11 Comments

  1. There’s such an over-use, or a use-to-show-you-can-do-it. Often there is not a consideration if you should use Ajax. So, in the discussion at BarCamp Phoenix, this is a reaction to that. Use Ajax when it adds value…when there’s a clear benefit.

  2. So in other words, don’t allow Ajax to go the way of the animated GIF? 🙂 I like Ajax (it makes Zazzle easy to use, and Ajaxwhois quick and easy), if it’s going the way of the Dinosaur, I hope something just as good or better is ready to take its place. (BTW Chris, when did the Dino go sour? 😉 )

  3. I have recently been confronted with the scariness of walking into a new contract to see AJAX being used purely because the client loves the WOW factor…

    If only I was having to code Blink I would be happy!

  4. Well shouldn’t “significant rise” of AJAX’s use pretty much take care of the “first time users”?

    Then again it’s a fatal flaw to make any kind of an assumption about a typical user. *sigh*

  5. I guess what I meant is that a significant number of Ajax uses require learning how the system works. There’s nothing the same.

  6. Chris – I’d have to disagree. There are a lot of common elements used in AJAX application. So unless the designers are going out of their way to turn things upside-down, I can easily spot that something ‘AJAXy’ is going on.

    Though I’m speaking from a developer’s perspective, who actually knows what AJAX stands for, so I’m probably bias.

  7. Chris, AJAX is like any web technology. Think of flash in the early days or the blink tag :). There will always be those that abuse it simply because they can, but there is a place for AJAX. AJAX used right should enhance the user experience, speed up the interface, and be seamless.

  8. I did include a question mark at the end of my post title, so just because I asked the question doesn’t mean I hate Ajax. I’m just asking whether it’s overused.

    I am a big fan of Ajax when it is used well, but for the first time, yesterday, I actually paused and thought about whether I was using too much Ajax in our new web app. There are a few places where we might be able to trim it down, and it would be just as effective. So I intend to look at it in that new light.

    Anyways, food for thought. What I meant by “learn” was that a lot of times Ajax interfaces are different. For example, does it have a “save” button or not? A lot of Ajax items automatically save every few seconds, but others don’t. So it’s not always a given.

  9. Ajax slows down pageloading, especially if it’s non built right:e.g. wp plugins like ajax commenting vs ajax calendar.
    These plugins killed each other.

  10. Just my 2 cents…

    … it gets the grimiest junk out of my bathroom sink; yucky build up.

    Just kidding! Gosh – I FELT your eyes roll.

    I agree with Chris regarding the usefulness of the technology. Really, ANY technology should be used in moderation. Too much this, too much that; what’s it all for? The example of the animated gif was priceless, point in case.

    However, as *new* as ajax may be, I agree that it will be overused and abused just like flash was early on but that because the conceptualization of such a useful technology has really taken hold with an obvious majority of developers, it’s only really a matter of time before it calms down into a more mature method.

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