Ajax Issues (Krugle)…

July 7, 2006

Ajax is a big buzzword right now and something that while extremely cool can also create usability issues and headaches for the users. I’m using Krugle as the example, not because they’re the worst offenders or even bad but simply because I’ve been using them quite a bit lately and am familiar with their interface.

Let’s start with the “in-browser” pop-ups (i.e. the login). While this is a slick way to present a form to a user without a page reload, it is not visible to the browsers for pre-populate from my username/password cache so I have to type in my own username and password. Yeah, I know I’m lazy but that’s the behavior that I’m used to and it really does save me time so why take it away??

Add to this the fact that there’s not any “Remember Me” type functionality to persist this info between sessions and what do you get?? I’m not going to be logged in 99% of the time. Any functionality that requires this will basically go unused and any tracking that they might want to do regarding my usage of the site become a much bigger effort. SIDENOTE: Actually, Krugle doesn’t even persist your login between page views so if you navigate to another site and then return later in the same session, you have to login again. *sigh*

Pretty much any Ajax type web application suffers when it comes to the back button. Things to mitigate these issues have been dealt with in depth elsewhere so I’m not going to go into it other than to mention it since it’s direction relevant to my last point.

My biggest issue is the JavaScript submit of searches. This is a HUGE problem. Since it’s not a new page, my back button doesn’t allow me to move between Krugle and another site and then return to Krugle’s search results. Big time pain. Also, this has so far thwarted my efforts in creating a Firefox plug-in for the search toolbar. While I don’t claim to be an expert in creating these plug-ins, I’ve not been able to find a way around this in order to make this happen and such a tool would easily double my usage of Krugle for my searching. Not a showstopper by any means but certainly a hindrance to the proliferation of Krugle as the code repository to search.

Like I said before, I don’t want anyone to think I’m down on Krugle – I’m not. I use them daily and they have been very responsive when I contact them about issues/suggestions. They’re doing a good thing!! I simply used them to point out some of the issues that using Ajax in your interface can create.



April 19, 2006

If you're a developer and you've ever used Google to find some code (uh…who hasn't), GO SIGN UP FOR KRUGLE RIGHT NOW!! I signed up about 2 months ago and just finally got in on the beta. It's amazing. You can watch the demo (800×600) to get an idea of what you're waiting for.

The interface is great; it's an Ajax app and beta so there are still some issues (*ahem* BACK BUTTON) but impressive and intuitive nonetheless. It supports a variety of languages from Objective-C and LISP to TCL and sh. There's something in there for everyone.

If you sign up, please leave a note and let me know what you think.

*** UPDATE:  It appears that the beta is closed at this point. Be sure to sign up so that you'll know when it officially rolls out. ***

My AJAX is Better Than Yours…

February 3, 2006

I found this little comparison of ASP.NET AJAX frameworks helped to clear up some questions I had. Sometimes it’s hard to know which one to use or what features were supported by the various frameworks but this handy, dandy little chart should help to clarify things a bit. Thank you Daniel.

DISCLAIMER: Daniel is actually the author of ComfortASP.Net, one of the frameworks in the comparison.

Meebo – web based IM…

December 27, 2005

I can officially hang up any ideas I might have had of creating the killer web based IM client – it exists here. I was a little doubtful at first and hesitant to put my username/password into a non-HTTPS browser window (let alone on a server I have no knowledge or control of) but I did it anyway. The gasp that was heard upon clicking “Sign On” was one of amazement – the interface is clean, simple, and works quite effortlessly. It’s basically Trillian but in a browser – which is great since my copy of Trillian takes 15 minutes to load and seems to bog my entire PC down (P4 3GHz with 1GB RAM) but that’s a rant for another day…

Apparently, this is the love child of two devoted and quite capable devs produced by a company that is a mere three months old. Although it’s still in alpha and needed a few features – it’s completely usable in my opinion. I will certainly have to keep an eye on these folks…
Oh and they have a blog too.

Using Prototype…

December 27, 2005

I’ve been aware of the prototype library (if you want to call it that) by Sam Stephenson for some time now by way of Rico and even used it in my [edited] project. However, I had little idea of what all it was capable of due to a SEVERE lack of documentation and not really having the time to pick thru the source myself. Today, that was rectified. Finally, a great explanation of prototype.