Don’t use Ajax blindly

GMail and other web applications have adopted a new technique coined Ajax (by Adaptive Path). It brings web applications a step away from the stateless web and closer to real applications. It’s harder to built applications with the applications, but it’s hot – and the most recent release of Rails (for Ruby) promises to make it much easier to do Ajax applications. Before you do too many Ajax applications, do think for a second.

Tadalist is a great example which could have been so much better with less Ajax code. The application rocks in a browser – if you’re at a full computer where the browser knows about and fulfil the requirements posed by the Ajax technique.

I do want to use the tadalist applications many other places – but mainly from one: with the Opera browser on my SonyEricsson P900 – and guess what it doesn’t like nor support Ajax techniques.

While it would be a nice – maybe even cool feature to be able to check my todo-lists and add items on the road I can’t. And the reason isn’t the design requirements (which are usually the most common case). Most of the design is quite usable on the P900 – it’s the Ajax it doesn’t like.

If you have a cool simple application – or features which may be of interest to mobile browsers, PDA users or others without a computer – don’t spoil it with fancy techniques – or do offer some graceful downgrades for non-Ajax users.

  • Dennis Newel

    As I recall, David didn’t use the new Ajax in Ruby on Rails for the Tadalist application. The stuff they have just put into rails should be much more standard complient etc.

    Wether it’ll work on a mobile browser or pda, I don’t know, but there was some talk on the IRC channel today, about the posibility of making rails capable of renderen a non-Ajax version of an application, even though the app would have been written using ajax….

    A solution where it could ‘sence’ the capability of the client, and deliver content based on that, could be quite nice.

  • Dennis Newel

    As I recall, David didn’t use the new Ajax in Ruby on Rails for the Tadalist application. The stuff they have just put into rails should be much more standard complient etc.

    Wether it’ll work on a mobile browser or pda, I don’t know, but there was some talk on the IRC channel today, about the posibility of making rails capable of renderen a non-Ajax version of an application, even though the app would have been written using ajax….

    A solution where it could ‘sence’ the capability of the client, and deliver content based on that, could be quite nice.

  • Dennis Newel

    As I recall, David didn’t use the new Ajax in Ruby on Rails for the Tadalist application. The stuff they have just put into rails should be much more standard complient etc.

    Wether it’ll work on a mobile browser or pda, I don’t know, but there was some talk on the IRC channel today, about the posibility of making rails capable of renderen a non-Ajax version of an application, even though the app would have been written using ajax….

    A solution where it could ‘sence’ the capability of the client, and deliver content based on that, could be quite nice.