Blyberg has a nice post about AJAX. He dislikes java and I’ve had my fair share of problems with it as well. Our LMS uses it for some functions which I think would have been better suited for flash but I’ll try to refrain from a preferred format war here.

I like that he alludes that things should be degradable. I am of the persuasion that it is probably best to start with plain xhtml/forms and then add on things like ajax to increase ease of use. Being able to do things without page loads can make certain tasks much easier but if things fail it should still work with page loads.

I saw a good example of this when a post about Backpack vs Gmail came across my aggregator. Both sites were loaded using lynx. Gmail completely failed to load while Backpack was still quite usable. I also tried to load the mobile gmail in lynx and it seemed to choke on the mime-type. Of course something like this is applicable not just for lynx users but also for things such as text-to-speech/screenreaders, etc. It’s always nice to think about how well your application will work when people access it with less then optimal set-ups. I know for a fact that quite a few Windows 95 users still access our resources and they don’t have the latest updates either. Will your presence still be usable?

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