Friday, June 03, 2005

Adam Bosworth's Weblog: Ajax reconsidered

Adam Bosworth's Weblog: Ajax reconsidered: "I've been thinking about why Ajax is taking off these days and creating great excitement when, at the time we originally built it in 1997 (DHTML) and 1997 (the XML over HTTP control) it had almost no take up. In 1997 I spent a month just chatting with customers about DHTML and what they liked/disliked. In general, they were not fans. They saw the web as a two edged sword. One the one hand it offered instant and universal access to all their customers which was an opportunity they couldn't afford to resist. On the other hand, they were terrified by the support costs of having millions or tens of millions of customers using their software. Accordingly, they wanted applications (aka web sites) that were as simple to figure out how to use as possible. Unlike productivity applications which Microsoft at least flatters itself that its customers use everyday, these were applications (web sites) which might be used only once or at most once a week (except for the brief insanity of day-trading). There is a trade-off between ease of learning and richness of UI. Toolbar icons and right clicks and drag/drop and so on are often great accelerators, but they aren't necessarily obvious. Filling in fields and clicking on URL's usually are. The customers, worrying about support for their customers, were emphatically not in favor of rich internet applications. They wanted reach, not rich. So why has this changed? I think that there are three reasons."

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