Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A few "Grouchy Gripes"

Just a few things that annoy me about the web today...

Web 2.0 expandable sections

I like Google Mail and all that fun stuff but a lot of things about the "next version" of the web are just annoying. One of the things I find most annoying are the "expandable sections"; where you have to click the little plus sign next to or directly on a link to expand and make visible a block of text and/or images. Nowhere is this more annoying than in "frequently asked questions" and technical support pages. I swear if I have to click on another "do you support this feature?" link just to see a "no" open up underneath it I will scream.

Portals just to have portals

A government agency recently changed their perfectly working set of static HTML pages into a hideous, moderately functional, PHP driven "portal" (and yes it has a thing to click on to hide the portal, see above, grrr). Why? Now all of our bookmarks to key pages do not work. Why spent a crap-load of development time on static content? The content of some pages hasn't changed in nine years! The "portal" offers virtually no functionality beyond what was there before.

AJAX bloat

This technology is starting to get out of hand. I see more and more of it cropping up in places where it shouldn't be used. One application I use frequently used AJAX to dynamically build a button bar for editing. I looked at the code (which was working flawlessly without AJAX) and by using AJAX to load button images and insert them as objects into the document object there was a savings of 11K; yup, a whopping 11 kilobytes of transmission. Of course, now there is a mess of JavaScript to do all of this and it causes a memory leak in Opera (the browser I use). If it works perfectly without AJAX then why change everything and risk alienating a minority? Also, one of the things I don't think all these AJAX people realize is that they piss off the "lowest common denominators" out there. There are people with crummy laptops and old computers that cannot handle a lot of this new stuff. There are moms and dads out there with older Pentium computers that cannot justify an upgrade. Meanwhile, the "web gurus" of the world keep adding stuff to something that functioned just perfectly before it.

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