Having tried to avoid ranting about the “web 2.0” nonsense that is being thrown around the web and USENET at lot these days I have finally had to succumb to the temptation and rant a little.
If you have an even passing interest in web design, and you haven’t had your head buried in sand for the last twelve months, you cant have missed the hype surrounding how Web 2.0 technologies (mainly AJAX) will be the future of the web. Internet (and to a lesser extent general PC) magazines have been falling over themselves to hype the “new” way of doing things (even though the XMLHttpRequest it hinges on is ancient) and websites which have adopted the web 2.0 mantras are pushed remorselessly. (Flickr, del.icio.us etc.,)
Now, generally speaking here at Why Dont You we are more than happy to adopt (pointless) new technologies just for the sake of it. I mean, we even use Ubuntu… 🙂 However I cant help but think the Web 2.0 obsession is getting out of hand. It’s “poster child” is AJAX and, while this is useful, there are massive limitations to its implementation. Add to this the potential learning curves involved and round off with the browser problems (what happens if the client doesn’t have a JS enabled browser…) – all of a sudden it seems that this is actually a niche technology.
If you are designing a cutting edge site, geared to impress other web designers with your jedi-like editing powers then go for it. Web 2.0 your site to death.
If however, you are designing a site for the general public then steer clear. When people are trying to do their online shopping they dont want fade in / fade out effects. When people are using the browser provided by their ISP along with whatever net-paranoia software they can get their hands on, all that finely crafted event-driven JS vanishes. This is the sad reality of the internet, away from the excitement of web magazines. People want websites which function. All the glitter that Web 2.0 / AJAX provides is (IMHO) pointless.
Most sites (and most designers) have enough trouble getting their sites to work in two different browsers when it is plain HTML and CSS. Add in the new platforms we are constantly being told are “the way forward” and it just seems that Web 2.0 is all hype and no function.
For thoese who have converted, some decent enough AJAX sites are:
- [Blog] http://sourcelabs.com/ajb/archives/2005/05/ajax_mistakes.html
- [Blog / Toolkit] http://twilightuniverse.com/resources/code/sack/
- [Spoof article about why AJAX sucks…] http://www.usabilityviews.com/ajaxsucks.html