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Why I Don’t use Ajax on my Blog

Blog Tips by Blog BlokeThere was a time when I was the first on my block to adopt new technologies. To show you how far I go back I actually bought the video game ‘Pong‘ (no I’m not old, I’m just getting better ;-).

When I was a kid I would spend hours at the local Radio Shack store perusing their catalogues and salivating over the products. I built myself an Apple 11 Plus clone for about $700 bucks without any instructions and off-the-shelf parts (except for the EPROM of course but please don’t tell Steve Jobs because at the time I didn’t realize what ‘proprietary’ meant :).
Apple 11 Plus Computer
With my first PC I was one of the few who figured out how to crack the 64K barrier (if you don’t what that means then don’t worry about it because these days we’re all crackerjacks). And when I became a blogger I created my own RSS newsfeeds from scratch before Blogger had even offered it (oddly enough I’m still getting requests for my ebook).

Right now we are going through another evolution with something that is called Web 2.0 (which is in fact a misnomer but don’t tell that to Tim O’Reilly) and leading the charge is a new technology called Ajax.

Ajax is in fact not a new technology at all, but rather a combination of CSS, XHTML, and Javascript. It is a “cool” technology that is taking the web by storm and its attractiveness to users is largely because of its dynamic “wow” factor and perceived speed advantage.

But as for me I’m struck in neutral. I’m neither for or against it. I’m just noncommittal at this time.

So why is that? Well read the following excerpt from an article I just read and I’ll tell you why:

Web 2.0 dangers:

“With Web 2.0, the functionality and experience of the sites become the primary focus, and the technology empowering the dynamic content is hidden behind the scenes to the average user. Yet the web applications underneath the polished finish remain just as complex, and add a variety of new and often unproven or unsecured technologies to the back end.

The dependence on technology means the new vulnerabilities brought by Web 2.0 are inevitable. Back in the old days of the web—even three or four years ago—users could boost security levels by turning off JavaScript. Doing so now would all but render the website useless. In effect, the user would be disabling the exact tools that make the web useful and efficient.

In the rush to unveil more interactive sites developers are urged to release functional sites that often lack added security measures. Attackers have quickly learned to exploit the shortcomings in these codes. This has resulted in an urgent need to audit and assess these sites for security vulnerabilities. In order for Web 2.0 technologies to reach full potential, inherent security issues must be recognized and addressed and businesses must incorporate security best practices into application development.

In addition to structural security flaws, there are also user threats including the loading of malicious content. Sites that encourage end user postings typically have no way to stop the uploading of content that might distribute malicious code to other site visitors. In similar ways, other user-driven web sites, including blogs, podcasts and social networking sites, are prone to both security and privacy issues. While it seems as though democracy has come to the Internet, more freedom means increased potential for abuse and errors.

As in our car example, the new features create new avenues for exploit. The majority of Web 1.0 users interacted with single functions on single pages. Now AJAX programming allows any given page to have dozens of features and functions, running independently as well as interacting with each other. This means a fragmentation in communication and the possibility that web application vulnerabilities that have been around for years might increase exponentially. The most common vulnerabilities include SQL injection, cross site scripting (XSS), buffer and SOAP overflow and XML attacks.” Source.

User Vulnerabilities:

So what can a user do to safeguard their computer?

“The dependence on technology means the new vulnerabilities brought by Web 2.0 are inevitable. Back in the old days of the web—even three or four years ago — users could boost security levels by turning off JavaScript. Doing so now would all but render the website useless. In effect, the user would be disabling the exact tools that make the web useful and efficient.

So what does that mean? If a reader should decide to turn off scripts in their browser your ajaxified blog would be rendered useless, that’s what! I’m all for “cool” and “wow”, but not when it could possibly jeopardize the very core workings of my blog.

What about SEO?

There is also the SEO issue. It is a well known fact that GoogleBot can’t read scripts and so the aspect of how well your blog will be indexed and ranked is another unknown. Unless you are a clever enough programmer to get around that fact you face the distinct possibility of becoming extinct on the search engines and sabotaging your blog’s pagerank.

On the other hand I have heard reports from those who sing the praises of Ajax but they are few and far between and expert in getting around the limitations of scripts.

A programmer has to be knowledgeable enough to know where and when to use AJAX. In the hands of the ordinary person Ajax could cause more damage than benefit, or as CyberCoder said “A tool is only as good as the person using it.”

Post Pages are Rendered Moot:

I’m a firm believer in the importance of post pages in blog design, not only from an SEO point of view but for other uses as well. Ajax unfortunately keeps readers on the main page.

I realize that by writing this post I run the risk of becoming unpopular with some of my colleagues and readers who have adopted Ajax with open arms. But regardless if you agree with the Bloke or not, you can count on the fact that I will always be honest with you and not just say what is popular.

So for me there too many issues with Ajax that tell me to use caution and wait and see how the dust settles before I decide to ajaxify my blogs. I’m not saying that Ajax is bad. What I am saying is Ajax is a technology that you need to be careful with and make sure you know what you are doing. You really need to know the risks as well as its limitations before you decide to implement this new technology on your blog.


Has your blog been ajaxified yet or are you planning to sometime soon? Or are you like me and sitting on the sidelines? I would like to know.



Filed under: blog bloke, instabloke, blogging, blog tools, blogtech, web 2.0, computers and internet, technology, tech, web 2.0, ajax, seo, blog design

Written February 1st, 2007 by | 11 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Blogging Tips, Design Tips, SEO Tips, Search Engine Tips, Security Tips , , , , ,

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There are 11 Comments so far to “Why I Don’t use Ajax on my Blog”

  1. I am a big fan of AJAX (in theory) and I think you hit the nail on the head with this post.

    The other thing people are forgetting is the “J” in AJAX stands for JavaScript, and that is where the problem with getting AJAX to be SEO friendly comes in.

    I have some sites that are 90% AJAX, it’s what I do with the other 10% that can make or break it, depending on the objective of the site.

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  2. Yes you put it all together very well and I couldn’t agree more. Well said Bloke.

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  3. I remember when my dad bought his Apple II+. He thought long and hard about whether to get the II or the II+ because “after all 64K is a lot of memory. Who could possibly need that much.”

    Oh, how times have changed…

    I asked him over the holidays if he still had it. (I took it to college with me but gave it back when I graduated.) Unfortunately he gave it away years ago.

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  4. Yes how the times are-a-changing. I gave mine to my niece and lost track of it. It may be worth something to a collector these days.

    Has your blog been ajaxified?

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  5. LOL…Expert…I got a chuckle with that one Bloke!

    Oh come on, the systems are not that much different.

    My first PC was a Tandy 1000, one 5 1/4 360k floppy, no HD, 64k ram (I think). I remember putting the first HD in it, a 10 MB (thats Megabytes), retail price was $700 and we had to solder the motherboard to make it work.

    Oh, and that killer resolution green screen! Whooo Hooo…..

    I can still hear the sound of the floppy churning to load up a little basic program.

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  6. I’m not very techie.. I don’t know what Ajax is. Hm.

    take care:)

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  7. Yeah, somehow I miss the grinding sound of those old 5 1/4 floppies. I knew there was something missing in my life. My first hard drive was a 40mb. The guy who sold it to me said that I would never fill it up. Heh, never say never when it comes to ‘puters.

    BTW, wasn’t it your site that I saw Google using as an example in their Ajax presentation?

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  8. Good morning East of Oregon. You can click on the links above for more Ajax information, or check out CyberCoder’s blogs to see it in action.

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  9. BB, I believe your sidebar tab is made using AJAX :) Correct me if I’m wrong.

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 2:21 pm said...

    Yes

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  10. I don’t agree at all..
    I’m using ajax in my blog,

    AJAX will be a danger for website, if you can’t handle any vulnerabilities….

    e.g facebook using many ajax request for accessing their database..
    but, their site fine,
    no vulnerabilities found…

    :D :D

    I love ajax technology…

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