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Considering AJAX

21 August 2008 | 2,712 views | No Comment

“When we were young, we were told that ‘Everybody else is doing it’ was a really stupid reason to do something. Now it’s the standard reason for picking a particular software package.” — Barry Gehm

When you make decisions, one strong bias is the bandwagon effect. The idea is that humans often do or think things just because many others do the same. Now, after convincing yourself that Ajax is something you have to use, be careful not to find artificial excuses to use it. To some people, Ajax is the latest proverbial hammer, and they will use any excuse to find themselves some suitable nails. Remember that Ajax is a tool, not a toy or purpose in itself.

With each new technology that is introduced, people like to experiment and test the tipping point. For instance, when color monitors first came out, a deluge of applications changed their fonts and colors as much as possible, just because they could. No user really wants a mouse trailer, yet a large number of Web designers seem to think that they have to add them to their sites. I feel that, if we’re not careful, the same phenomenon will happen with Ajax.

Ajax is also fueling a venture capital frenzy. The investment climate for technology startups seems to have become friendly again, and one of the magic keywords these days is Ajax. Collaboration-based startup Zimbraâ„¢, a heavy Ajax user, has already secured $16 million. Other startups are scrambling to claim that they are Ajax-based as a result, to sell more products or receive more attention from investors.

If you find yourself wanting to use Ajax, make a balanced decision about where exactly you think it makes sense, and where it does not.