IceWeb 2006 notes - Shaun Inman, "Responsible Asynchronous Scripting"

Written April 28. 2006, at 15:06 GMT.

First of all, to Simmi and any others who might be in the room reading this as I type: Hi! :-)

  • Shaun's website
  • Shaun briefly explains the difference between the asynchronous model and the plain HTTP model.
  • In the really early days Java applets, ActiveX or Flash object were the only way to proxy live requests out of a webpage and get back responses. Actually, people were also using 1px tall/wide <frames>
  • Then <iframe>came along. Problems include: the back button going all funky, and the irritating "page loaded" sound in Internet Explorer.
  • And now finally we have XMLHttpRequestcombining the benefits of all the old methods into one convenient Javascript method.
  • Shows code examples of XMLHttpRequestbeing used. (Sidenote: Dean Edwards' How To Load And Parse XML Data Without ActiveX is also an interesting read.)
    • I imagine a lot of the people in the room are going to try this "Really Cool AJAX Stuff" out immediately when they get back to work, and we'll see an incredible amount of terribly broken, terribly inaccessible AJAXy stuff all over the Icelandic web sphere. *shudder*.
  • Notes that the parts of a page that are "remoted" (dynamically loaded and then injected into the page source) are terrible for search-engine visibility.
  • Lists good v. bad uses of AJAX-model interactivity. Good: Live-search, auto-complete, client-side form validation. Bad: Navigation, ecommerce-functionality.
  • "Guns don't kill people. People..." --> "Remoting doesn't kill the back button. Irresponsible developers..."
  • Explains the AJAX pattern where a page is coded so that it works without javascript but Javascript is used to "hi-jack" the default behaviour (form submits, link-clicks, etc) and replace it with dynamic AJAXy functionality. Said pattern has been called "HiJAX".

Great presentation, but I noticed that he didn't mention accessibility at all. Bad. :-(

I asked a question: "How do you indicate to blind users that a part of the page has changed via AJAX (bright-yellow blinking divs notwithstanding)?" Shaun deferred it to Joe who shook his head and said that Derek Fetherstone is trying to figure that out now.


More like this: English Entries, IceWeb2006.


Reader Comments (1)

  1. Derek Featherstone replies:

    Hello, Már!

    Thanks for posting your notes on the event. IceWeb 2006 sounds like it was very successful. I hope to live up to the task at hand re: a more accessible Yellow Fade technique. I have a few ideas I'm working with right now that will hopefully help.

    May 1. 2006 kl. 08:22 GMT | #

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