Rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

When ajax attacks

O'Reilly have done something stupid. They've rewritten their Safari online books site as an ajax application, now my back button works only intermittently and the forward button not at all. Plain old HTML is perfect for reading documents online - that's what it's for! Their new ajax based system is harder to use. To regain the usability of the old site they'll have to re-implement the browser history in javascript. And for what benefit? Faster page loads, apparently. Hardly a priority unless you're some kind of demon speed reader.

Really, there are one or two applications where ajax is very useful, but that doesn't mean you have to use it everywhere.

Update: It looks like they've de-ajaxed the chapter select navigation. It doesn't work without javascript turned on, so I think they must be encoding data in the URL that the page then uses to dynamically request it's content from the server.

I mailed O'Reilly support and they told me you can still access the original non-ajax site at http://access.safari.oreilly.com