AJAX Shopping Cart Follow-up

posted on 2005-08-03 at 23:44:45 by Joel Ross

This whole blogversation thing has been an interesting experience. I'm glad I decided to go ahead and do it - I wasn't sure I had any good input, but figured I would try it out and see what happened.

So far, it's been a good thing. My traffic is way up from what it normally is, and Tim Haines' blog is my number one referrer in the past month - and the post has only been up for 24 hours!

I've also found three new blogs so far: Keith Nicholas, Phil Cockfield, and Nic Wise. And that is the real point, right?

Anyway, Keith posted a follow up to my comments about bookmarking. He said his idea was not to eliminate the linkable product detail page, but to be able to see the details when you hover over the product - that way, you don't have to go to the product detail page if you don't want to. The developer in me wants to fight this ("but that's duplicate code!"), but this isn't about how to implement something - it's about what would be useful, and Keith is right on here.

There's been another entry into the blogversation. Phil Cockfield takes an inverse look: What features wouldn't be better with AJAX? A nice approach, and one that I think we're all considering, just not explicitly stating. He mentioned two main downfalls mentioned so far - linkable pages, and downlevel browsers. I think he was quoting me when he was talking about linking. That's obviously one of the issues I see, but there are others (thanks for asking, Phil!). They all revolve around the same issue - when you perform an action, and it uses AJAX to perform that action, you are sidestepping the functionality built into the browser. This is bad. This means you can't use the back button to go back if a page is loaded dynamically. You can't use the forward button for the same reason. You can't use refresh either. Yes, you can work around those - Gmail (off topic - I still have invites if you are the last person on earth not to have a Gmail account), for instance, traps the back button and, using AJAX, mimics it's functionality. But hit refresh when you're in an email and you'll see what I mean. You end up back at your inbox list.

I've also asked the question before. Is this the problem of the web developer or the problem of the browser developer? Should the fact that a technology doesn't currently support what you want to do in an ideal way stop you from doing it? Or should you push technology advances by exposing a weakness? I would say the latter...

Categories: Development