Ajax Overkill: Unveiling the Most Superfluous Award Winner

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Ah,.. Ajax. It can be so nifty when it works well, but few technologies can lay a glove on it when it comes to making developers look (IMHO) silly. As Cameron Adams said recently:

Ajax gives web pages the ability to act as desktop applications using invisible data communication and seamless refreshing of individual page elements. This has the potential to either ruin the Web or propel it into a new era.

Here’s a nice example that I think contains a smidgen more from column A and a smidgen less from column B.

Art.com is a large, commerical art site selling prints to the public — over 300,000 of them, framed, mounted or otherwise. Their display pages are a model of efficient elegance — not dissimilar in style to Flickr in some ways — generally letting the artwork speak for itself.

But apparently, there wasn’t enough ‘wow-factor’. “We’re paying these developers — get them to come up with something that’s cool or hot or sick or whatever it is the kids want to be these days”.

So what was their solution?

Art.com pioneers the post-modern dropdown

Dropdowns have been reborn! If you click on a dropdown and expect it to ‘drop‘ ‘down‘ then I’m afraid you are a fool to yourself and a burden to others, my friend. Try the dropdown size selector here and behold the future. The down facing arrow on the dropdown actually means ‘materialize in mid-screen and slide up and left”. Brilliant!

Of course, if you’re not willing/able to run JavaScript, you won’t see so much. Without Javscript enabled, the dropdown doesn’t so much drop down as .. well, provide a nice study in ‘still life’. Being ‘Art.com’, maybe that’s a theme thing.

Hey, I guess the thinking is if you haven’t got JavaScript you’re most likely either weird or broke or both.

Alex WalkerAlex Walker
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Alex has been doing cruel and unusual things to CSS since 2001. He is the lead front-end design and dev for SitePoint and one-time SitePoint's Design and UX editor with over 150+ newsletter written. Co-author of The Principles of Beautiful Web Design. Now Alex is involved in the planning, development, production, and marketing of a huge range of printed and online products and references. He has designed over 60+ of SitePoint's book covers.

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