AJAX: Enough Already!

Is there such a thing as OverAJAXification?


From the AJAX Sucks Department...

Jeesh. Everybody and their brother is sticking AJAX into their "stuff" - whether it's appropriate or not. They just did it at Codeplex.com. The search facility was just fine. You'd click a "next" link and the page would postback and right away you would get to see the next page of results.

Now, since they've supposedly "souped it up" with AJAX, what you get is a very long (sometimes 5 seconds or more) grey screen with an "updating" in-your-face graphic to look at, and then finally you get to see your next page of search results. To me, that's a lot more annoying and disruptive to the user experience than the slight flicker of a quick postback. But often, instead, you may just as well see the above Sys.WebForms.PageRequestManager exception dialog, which does absolutely NOTHING to improve the user experience.

Oh, and while I'm ranting, here's another nasty side effect of your "OverAjaxification": I put in a search term, and page through my results, and I'm on page 7, and I click "back" to go back to page 6, right? NOPE. You guys put me back on page 1! What if I click on a result to look at the project, and then click back to get back to my page of results? Same thing - you guys are now putting me back to the first page of results, without the sort that I chose. DOH! This is like Dan Rather and the Selectrics, man! Do you have to do this dumb stuff?

This is what happens when people are hot to showcase some technology but they don't THINK first. AJAX (excuse me - Remote Scripting), like any other technology, should be used with care and especially with great forethought as to its appropriateness within the specific presentation paradigm and web traffic load.

AJAX can definitely improve the user experience when used with care and in the right situation. But frankly, if it's going to bomb out or take longer for me to see my results than a simple postback, I'll vote for the old fashioned way every time.

The key thing is "form over substance"- we should always favor doing things in a usable, correct manner over "how they look". IF you can do both, then fine -- but make it stand up to the test first.


  1. Anonymous3:23 PM

    Amen, brother! I am totally with you on this one. It is damn annoying, especially when you are left sitting there with the "hand" cursor and you cant click on anything else on the page becuase some silly AJAX process is running in the background, devouring all the memory it can. That pisses me off and I usually just click the Red X at that point (and, subsequently, get a nice "Not Responding" message in the browser title bar).

    AJAX should come with some sort of a surgeon generals warning so that it gets used sparingly.

    "WARNING: AJAX may cause fish clenching, hair pulling, and/or teeth grinding if not used wisely. Proceed with caution."

  2. I like that one. Well done.

  3. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Hehe, thanks. Upon reflection, I guess I've never clenched a "fish" before. I bet it was AJAX that caused that typo!

  4. Amen brother bromberg. I nixed that crappy ontime software from Axosoft because of poor utiliziation of AJAX. The delays drove me nuts not knowing if the application was doing something or not. Ugh. Another Jackass Attempting to be Xtreme. My new AJAX acronym.

  5. Anonymous1:28 AM

    I second that - ALL OF THAT!

  6. Anonymous2:14 AM

    I would like to draw your attention to another alternative which is a paradigm shift for AJAX front ends. One should be aware that I am not, and do not pretend to be objective, never the less I believe that one can judge for himself. Visual WebGui is an open source rapid application development framework for graphic user interfaces of IT web applications. VWG replaces the obsolete paradigms of ASP.NET in both design-time and run-time which were designed for developing sites, with WinForms methodologies, which were designed for developing applications. Thus enabling designer that was designed for application interfaces (WinForms designer) instead of a word documents (ASP.NET designer). This provides the developer with an extremely efficient way to design interfaces using drag and drop instead of hand coding HTML. Visual WebGui is an AJAX frame work that doesn’t expose logic, data or open services on client requests and therefore is not as vulnerable as common AJAX solution.. VWG presentation layer is de-coupled and instead of standard browser it can, and will run Silverlight.
    NO!!! Visual Webgui is not!!
    Not a component library – It is a complete revised approach to developing web applications.

    not a JavaScript generator – It runs on the server controlling the browser using a small static JavaScript kernel.

    Not for developing sites – It was designed to provide for developing IT web applications GUIs.

    Not a closed / locked-in framework – It has many extensibility features, which allow integration of legacy resources (ASP.NET or DHTML resources) and the development of custom controls and behaviors.
    Worth a look at www.visualwebgui.com.

  7. Anonymous7:05 PM


  8. Yep. Some people just can't resist an opportunity to honk their own horn. I'm talking about what I don't like about AJAX and this guy comes on and tries to sell me something else. I'll leave it up though, as a testament to how to make inappropriate blog comments.


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