AJAX: the “ricer” of the software development world?

We’ve all seen cars that have been “riced out“. Typically, a rather lousy car has all sorts of doodads and gizmos stuck on it. Sometimes this is done for the sake of the car’s appearance. Sometimes it’s done in a vain attempt to increase the vehicle’s performance. Regardless, what often happens is that it’s a costly hassle to modify the car, in the end the car looks awful, the performance actually decreases, and there’s been virtually nothing gained.

That parallels the situation with Web applications, specifically the whole AJAX phenomenon, quite well. This is summed up very concisely by a comment I saw at Slashdot today: “AJAX is only useful because people are trying to use HTTP and HTML in ways that HTTP and HTML weren’t meant to be used. It’s not clever anymore, now it’s just stupid.”

That’s a very true statement. It’s quite clear that AJAX-based Web application development is a lot like the ricer cars we see on the road today. It’s a clear misuse of an existing technology. And the results tend to be the same: a real mess is formed.

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