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Is Ajax enough?

We are currently working on a new product. We are going Ajax mad to ensure as user friendly experience as possible.

My question is do you think this is enough to make the product a success? There are many products already out there but all are run of the mill, c&*p to use software.

Will Ajax make the difference I wonder?
Kieran
Monday, June 26, 2006
 
 
Ajax can differentiate your product from your competitors, but it alone will not compel anyone to purchase your product. Documentation, customer support and hardware requirements are equally as strong "soft criteria".

I would suggest making a business case for your product on its own merits (do people want to buy a thingamigbob?) and then use Ajax to polish the rough edges. As an example, read up on Joel's FogBugz.
TheDavid
Monday, June 26, 2006
 
 
Ajax is a hack. Only commit it to products you plan on dropping within a few years.
namehere Send private email
Monday, June 26, 2006
 
 
Ajax will be enough only if your product does something essential which, without Ajax, it wouldn't be possible to do at all.

Otherwise, merely advertising that your product uses Ajax will make most people in the world wonder what, exactly, it cleans.
Kyralessa Send private email
Monday, June 26, 2006
 
 
The app is largely based around searching, therefore I'm using Ajax to make searching faster and easier, to allow them to find what they are after in a much better way than the competition.

I agree that advertising it as Ajax makes no sense at all, especially if it's not aimed at techies.
Kieran
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
With respect to namehere, AJAX is not a hack. But to answer your latest question, Kieran, if using AJAX will improve the user experience to the point where the increased performance clearly distinguishes your app from the competition, then it is enough.

But, beware of using AJAX in a way that is inappropriate or unnecessary. That'll do nothing for your customers, and it may just make them mad at your app, depending on the behavior AJAX is providing. AJAX-abuse seems to be the trend these days, though.
Albi-wan
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
In answer to your question: No, it is most definitely not enough!

I also agree with the view that AJAX is something of a hack - another way around deficiencies in the thin-client browser model.

IMHO, it's biggest failing is in using JavaScript, with inherent lack of type safety and so on.

Having said all that, it can improve your UI handling from a browser app, so if your development benefits from that, then good luck.
John Rutter Send private email
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
If you have a limited potential customer base, other technologies such as asynchronous Flash are just as good as AJAX.

The real question you need to ask yourself is, "what are you willing to require your users to install in order to use your application the way you intended?"

The comment that AJAX is a hack probably refers to - in part - the fact that not every browser implements the underlying Javascript the same way, and there's no guarantee they will ever become 100% compatible or even maintain their present courses. You may be setting yourself up for testing and customer support nightmares.

On the plus side, AJAX doesn't really seem to require the customer to download anything - most recent browsers support it to some level.
TheDavid
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
Ajax is a hack because:

1. It is attempting to "allow" programmers to make web "applications" available in browsers, using technologies that were by no means intended for such.
2. There are far superior technologies available.

It's like using scotch tape for suspenders:
1. Scotch tape wasn't meant to hold up pants, and
2. Better materials exist.

As to Ajax enlivening webpages--for some things this doesn't matter. Where I work, we use Ajax to validate fields and bring up forms, and show little messages. Fine. But that's not a web page pretending to be an application.

I've seen all too many MS outlook clones, and calendars, and quasi-rich "webapps" that use ajax. I don't even want to think about the backbending that went on to get such stuff to work.

Now, look at this as an example:

http://www.gagaplay.com/jemu2/applet/applet.php?w=448&h=512&driver=dkong

Yes, that's a near-perfect emulated version of donkey kong, right in your browser. Try doing that with ajax. You can't and never will. If people can put donkey kong in a browser, they can put a calender or mail client that isn't built out of chicken wire.

So...why do so many "webapps" use such painfully, obviously, ridiculously inferior technologies. Maybe:

1. Well, not everyone has java (or flash, or whatever you like) installed, uh huh, or,
2. Programmers prefer hacking crazy shit together, rather than doing what is best.
namehere
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
"Yes, that's a near-perfect emulated version of donkey kong, right in your browser. Try doing that with ajax. You can't and never will."

Are you serious? http://games.funnygames.nl/lemmings/
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
Not to get academic here, but that isn't donkey kong, it isn't emulated, and it isn't, umm, ajax really. They did a nice job, but I'd REALLY be impressed if you could make a Z80 emulator in javascript and run it in a browser, and load up Roms as you please. Man, would I be impressed--specifically, I would be impressed because it would a colossal hack, which would be the only reason to do such a thing.

Please, look at the root of that game, http://www.funnygames.nl/, and see what everyone is using--I see mostly flash. Look at the root of what I pointed to, http://www.gagaplay.com/jemu2/applet/, and say, what would be the time expenditure of doing all that in Javascript (if possible) as opposed to doing it right once?
namehere
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
Nice to know that you have come around to show us the light and teach us what is the best...
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
Yep. I know I feel edified. Thanks, namehere.
Albi-wan
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
"I'd REALLY be impressed if you could make a Z80 emulator in javascript"

How about a Unix emulator? http://www.masswerk.at/jsuix/
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
And BTW, namehere, I would point you to read http://javascript.crockford.com/javascript.html but I'm afraid you wouldn't understand any of that.
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
 
Javascript per se is (in some ways) more powerful than java (it is, after all, a functional language). It wouldn't be _too_ hard to make a Z80 emulator in Javascript, if you ran it from a console. The problem is running it in a browser. The problem is worse when you are trying to fake out socket connections between that browser and a server using xml. The problem is worse when you are trying to make decent-looking graphics by going div.innerHtml=[my images here] or whatever the current idiom is.

If you go here:

http://finance.google.com/finance?q=msft

...you'll see that the world's greatest javascript programmers are using flash to make their charts. A CHART IS NOT A GEE-WIZ FEATURE, AND IT WASN'T 20 YEARS AGO. But charts are evidentally not so easy to hack in javascript as maps or textbox dropdowns--ask yourself, Why did they use flash? and would javascript have been a better tool for the job?

(It's a nice Unix emulator, but you know what--it's nothing compared to the 20 or so emulators I have on my computer. It's also pathetic compared to the arcade emulator I posted above. The javascript emulator is only impressive _because it's in the browser_.)

Do whatever you want of course--I'm predicting that webapps won't be using javascript in the future--or, if they do, it will be within a contained environment like java applets or flash.
namehere Send private email
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
 
 
"I'm predicting that webapps won't be using javascript in the future"

Ever heard of Clarke's First Law? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke%27s_laws

Of course, yoou are not distringuished, so this might not apply to you...
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
 
 
>>My question is do you think this is enough to make the product a success?

You seem to have selected a technology then gone looking for a problem. It should be the other way round.

Nobody is going to buy your software because it uses Ajax, they are going to buy it because is satisfies some want or need on their part.
Tony
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
 
 
>>You seem to have selected a technology then gone looking >>for a problem. It should be the other way round.

No, the software is going to provide a solution to a problem. The technology was chosen afterwards to improve and make the product better than the competition's offerings.
Kieran
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
 
 
I'm with namehere. AJAX is a nasty hack. We need to encourage the world to adopt a decent framework to sit on every machine to replace the ajax components. It'll come in time.

Sunday, July 02, 2006
 
 
namehere: No donkey kong, but someone has infact implemented Lemmings in javascript. Better believe it.
Matt Send private email
Sunday, July 02, 2006
 
 
Here's a nasty AJAX hack of Super Mario Bros

http://www.janis.or.jp/users/segabito/JavaScriptMaryo.html

I would focus on figuring out how to make your application as usable and useful as possible. Maybe some UI ideas you have will require AJAX, but focus on the design before deciding what technologies (or hacks) you will use.
Robby Slaughter Send private email
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
 
 
How is making a HTTP post/get a hack?

I think you don't know what AJAX is if you call it a 'hack'
ForTheLoveOfGod Send private email
Monday, July 17, 2006
 
 

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