[wp-hackers] AJAX

David Chait davebytes at comcast.net
Thu Jun 29 20:13:29 GMT 2006

Just to add to this, many of the examples of 'decoration' are DOM+JS, and 
NOT Ajax.  Using JS for 'decoration' is extremely useful.  Effects and 
animation make the interface richer, easier to understand, draw the eye to 
important elements, etc.

Also, a portion of what is called Ajax these days is really Ajah (that is, 
html body, not repackaging everything into xml...).  There's actually a 
handful of different approaches to using JS for client-server exchange, so 
Ajax really is over-used even within its 'sphere'...

But after that exchange, it's back to plain JS to play with the elements, 
plus basic HTML, CSS, graphics, etc., to make things interesting when 
'static'.  The exchange is only one piece of the equation of JS interfaces, 
and yes it's the part that makes it Ajax or Ajah or Jah or whatever... 
But, let's not accidentally label JS effects as Ajax... ;)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Computer Guru" <computerguru at neosmart.net>
To: <wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: [wp-hackers] AJAX

I have to disagree with you entirely then...

Decoration most certainly isn't useless, and every point you make is 100%
valid - but I don't see why you need AJAX to do it.
Certainly - the widgets plugin would be a lot less comfortable to use
without AJAX, but how much harder are drop-down boxes with numbers in them
that determine the order (the same forums are ordered in IPB, phpBB, etc.)

Decoration doesn't need AJAX: it never has, and it never will solely rely
on it.
Some of the best designed sites don't use AJAX - I never said design wasn't
important, nor did I ever think that, but I don't think _AJAX_ is important
for design.

CPanel, Helm, Plesk, whatnot: none use AJAX, yet some are easy to use while
others aren't. Nothing to do with AJAX, but everything to do with how much
time the Devs wanted to spend on planning the design and making it easy to

But I _do_ see your point, very well too. Look at Digg.com: the only reason
it's more popular than the other user-provided and rated services before it
is that it makes it all easier: no need to reload a page to "digg" and
item: just click as many buttons as you want. (compare that to ratings on
Slashdot - eugh!)

So, yeah, Decoration isn't useless, but 99.9% of the time using AJAX for
decoration is.

-----Original Message-----
From: wp-hackers-bounces at lists.automattic.com 
[mailto:wp-hackers-bounces at lists.automattic.com] On Behalf Of Elliott 
Franklin Cable
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 8:53 PM
To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
Subject: Re: [wp-hackers] AJAX

Yeah... i actually must say I do stray a TAD toward the use-ajax extreme, if 
only for two reasons:

1) I disagree with you - I'd say that in 99.9% of cases, AJAX is 40-50% 
useless. Decoration is *not* useless - a good user experience is essential 
to any application, any site, any... anything. I used to host on 
MediaTemple - then switched to DreamHost because they were cheaper. As soon 
as I got in, I looked at the control panel and though *euck* - but I put up 
with it, hell it was cheaper and everything else in the features seemed 
better. Guess what? The support SUCKED. At least, compared to (mt)'s 
unofficial 10-minute rule. I go back to mediatemple, notice how well 
designed and clean the control panel is - easy to find anything, fun to 
use - and the overall hosting experience was BETTER! Ever used Plesk? It is 
TORTURE. Because it is so horribly designed and laid out. My point is that 
good design, an *enjoyable* interface is not only AN element of a good 
service - it is an _ESSENTIAL_ element of a good service! So using AJAX for 
decoration isn't not only a bad thing, it can be a good thing (this works 
the other way around, however - you can use too much AJAX, make the user 
sick of it, and WORSEN their experience; and again, AJAX is only an element, 
and a relatively new one at that, of that elusive creature _good design_)

2) I am a Rails developer. Adding AJAX effects in rails is like wearing a 
different pair of pants, you know, the cool jeans, instead of those old 
stuffy khakis. No extra work really, just a decision.

The only real PROBLEM with AJAX is when people use it and *DON'T* provide 
obvious alternatives. It's the rule of developers, if you use a technology 
to make a task easier for your user, make sure that task can be done (albeit 
a bit less easy, perhaps) WITHOUT the technology.
When people fail to do this, AJAX is blamed. It's a techie case of 'Guns 
don't shoot people, people shoot people', nothing more.

On Jun 29, 2006, at 9:36 AM, Computer Guru wrote:
> It would help if you replied directly to the messages ;P
> But yes, I agree. AJAX isn't the be-all end-all it's made out to be,
> but nevertheless, it is the _only_ way the web can represent a true
> application platform.
> AJAX provides a (theoretically) seamless way for data-streaming of
> GET/POST without refreshing or reloading a page - but in 99.9% of the
> circumstances it's 100% un-necessary.
> Look at where AJAX is used in WP (fading boxes for messages, and the
> widgets bar - nothing else AFAIK).
> The first is useless: pretty, but useless The second is broken in many
> browsers - rendering it useless.
>> I don't understand people like this >.<
>> Sure, AJAX isn't *everything* people crack it up to be, but...
>> it's not useless, it's still pretty cool, it's worth integrating in a
>> tasteful measure... i jsut don't understand people who fall in with
>> either extreme on most subjects....
>> On Jun 29, 2006, at 8:44 AM, Robert Deaton wrote:
>>> Sounds like more useless Web 2.0 OMGAJAX bloat to me.

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