By Kevin Yank

WD06: Jeremy Keith, “Explaining Ajax”

By Kevin Yank

Kevin Yank is reporting from the Web Directions South conference in Sydney, Australia.

As expected, Jeremy Keith gave a clear and entertaining introduction to AJAX at Web Directions South, today. I won’t rehash that material here, as we have plenty of good introductory material on SitePoint already.

Keith adopted a somewhat contrarian view when it comes to “desktop-like” AJAX applications like the web-based instant messaging application, Meebo, suggesting that there are better uses for AJAX than simply replicating desktop applications within the confines of a browser (and subject to the limitations of that environment). I tend to agree.

Keith also spent some time discussing the design challenges that arise from adding AJAX to your web site. High on his list were issues like providing status information and feedback about the otherwise silent server communication at the heart of every AJAX application.

Keith’s closing point was on the lack of accessibility of current AJAX applications, and how this is the single biggest challenge standing in the way of AJAX becoming an universal aspect of real-world web development.

This session will be podcast over the next few weeks on the Web Directions South blog.

  • While AJAX may not be accessible yet, it does have some appealing search engine optimization uses. It’s ability to draw from XML files on the fly to display data allows for ease of indexing for rich copy which is always a bonus.

  • Optimized,

    Can you provide some more detail on what you mean? I don’t see how storing your content in XML files that you retrieve with AJAX aids in search engine optimization. If anything, that would seem to be search engine suicide.

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