This morning, when I read the headline technical article in Computer Sweden , I got upset, tired and saddened. Basically, the article is calling Swedish companies out of date just because they aren’t using AJAX for their web sites. It also somehow manages to convey the notion that AJAX = Web 2.0.
First, AJAX is not Web 2.0. A Web 2.0 company/solution might use AJAX, and that’s it. Using AJAX doesn’t automatically make it Web 2.0. Period.
Second, calling AJAX modern is just ignorant. The technical possibilities have been around for years, the only thing that’s “new” is the acronym and the hype.
Third, even if it were a modern approach, why would everyone benefit from it? The web is already filled to the brim with unmotivated AJAX solutions; web sites that have sacrificed accessibility and usability just to be doing the latest thing. Now this magazine, probably the technical magazine/paper with the highest amount of readers and vastest reach in Sweden, helps to spread the word that everything has to be AJAX-based, which will, without a doubt, lead to a lot of web developers out there start doing it right away, and managers will run to their employees proclaiming that they just can’t miss this.
The article is written by a reporter who, last week, published an article stating that web sites would have to be re-written for IE 7. Sure, if it were amateurs doing the job the first time around… So, needless to say, his track record reveals that maybe he hasn’t gotten a technical expertise. Which is fine, but then please do the proper research before publishing such pieces. With such a job, there’s a responsibility that goes with it.
One company that is mentioned and quoted in the article is hitta.se , who proudly announces that their AJAX-based preloading maps are so much better than their competitor Eniro’s are. Ok, let’s take a swift look at hitta.se and see for ourselves:
- The code is riddled with inline styles and inline scripts, completely forsaking the professional approach of having this in separate layers.
- The word semantics doesn’t seem to have gotten through at all to the web developers; the state of the HTML code is appalling.
Does this mean that AJAX has to be inaccessible then? Absolutely not, it’s all about doing it the correct way. Also, I don’t have a problem with AJAX itself; on the contrary, I agree that used in a proper context, it can make using a web site a lot more interesting, useful and fast to use. But it should never be used at the cost of excluding users or normal web browsing behavior such as using the forward and back buttons in the web browser, bookmarking, reloading etc (this is all something I wanted to address with ASK – AJAX Source Kit).
Do I have a beef with hitta.se? Not at all, I just get tired when people make statements and say that they’re so much more in the loop than other companies, and then it’s obvious that they haven’t done their job correctly. In fact, I know the people behind specifying the concept, and I think it’s great! It’s just sad that the web developers implementing it didn’t have the skills to match it.
Conclusively, I’d advise hitta.se to make their next statement when you’ve done your job right. Till then, do your homework…