19 June 2005
AJAX' Achilles Heel
maps.google.com with Javascript disabled
AJAX -- "Asynchronous Javascript and XML" -- is certainly getting a lot of attention lately.  Too bad it, and the so-called XmlHttpRequest upon which it relies, are misnamed: XML is not necessarily required.  Of much greater consequence, however, is that AJAX applications may not work if the user disables Javascript.

Try it yourself: disable Javascript in your browser, then visit maps.google.com, which arguably started the AJAX buzz.  You will receive the message that "JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use Google Maps".

Enablement of Javascript is outside of the control of the developer and cannot be relied upon, except perhaps for a private intranet application.   For a public website however you should consider alternative strategies alongside of, or instead of, AJAX.  We will consider such a strategy next month.
Addendum, Dec 2005: The image below is a screenshot, dated Aug 2005, of visiting maps.google.com with Javascript disabled. Now instead they provide verbiage ("Your web browser is not fully supported by Google Local.") followed by this unhelpful link

Posted by htmatters at 6:27 AM | Comments (42)
Open Source ColdFusion
To augment your choice of free ColdFusion components, look no further  than  cfopen.org.  It describes itself as a "a collaborative software  development  environment designed to facilitate the development of open source  software  for ColdFusion."  Here you will find not just components, but even  full-fledged frameworks (not unlike FuseBox) that can provide the  foundation  for an entire site.  More and more of these ColdFusion projects are  supporting freely available databases as well, e.g. MySQL.  Besides  downloading existing software, you can establish your own project, or  apply  to join an existing one, for instance if you want to contribute some  customizations you've made.  And don't forget to google "ColdFusion  Open  Source" while you're at it.  This will return results ranging from  custom  tags all the way to content management systems.
Posted by htmatters at 5:28 AM | Comments (0)