[thelist] Non-Js versions of JS enabled apps (was: Questinging JS was "AJAX Calls Working Intermittently inIE")

Paul Bennett Paul.Bennett at wcc.govt.nz
Wed Mar 12 21:33:12 CDT 2008

Hi Joshua,

I agree with you on the pain-in-the-butt comment. It does suck to build 2 versions of an application.

However, one caveat that comes to mind is to do with a situation my step dad ran into a while ago. We were nominated for a webby (yay!) and I asked some friends and relatives to vote, as we were up against some pretty stiff international competition in our category. At the time, my parents were on windows 98 (this was only last year!) and I think running either IE5 or 5.5. As a result, all the wizz bang AJAX voting code on the  webby's site didn't work for him. In this case he was totally locked out of voting. Yes he was an edge case (and has since 'upgraded') but a valid user who couldn't participate in the webby awards process.

For 'value add' stuff like lightbox etc, I say just build 1 version, but for business critical stuff being released into the wild, it's necessary to give users another option if their browser just can't cope.

This being said, if you're targeting web savvy people (think 37signals) then it's likely to be safe to just go all AJAX and not worry too much about the backup version. Google does it all the time (docs, analytics, mail, calendar, iGoogle) and no one seems to mind. ( I doubt any of us will ever reach 1/100th the users that Google does.)

A good point Joshua - I'm glad you asked the question :)


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