Question on when AJAX is used

Posted on 2014-09-23
Last Modified: 2014-09-23
AJAX has grown in popularity, and yet JavaScript is so easy to disable within a browser. I also know that AJAX's usefulness is the ability to avoid a total page load and just update certain parts of a page quickly and efficiently.

I was thinking of writing an application that would have very minimal page reloads by relying heavily on AJAX and DOM manipulation to cause page UI changes. I'm just trying to get a feel here on how developers approach this (since I'm new to this platform). Surely AJAX wouldn't be this prevalent if it's so easily rendered useless.

Can I get opinions/comments from experienced and expert developers out there on this subject? Because I'm sure you folks went through this stage I'm going through at one time or another, and I'm interested in your thoughts/insights.

Question by:elepil
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LVL 58

Assisted Solution

Gary earned 250 total points
ID: 40340381
The days of browsers without js support is pretty much over, there are still some browsers in use but by a tiny fraction of people (devices).
Having js disabled in your browser would pretty much preclude you from using the internet and pretty much all the top websites.

Author Comment

ID: 40340394
Gary, thanks for your feedback. I am aware that people who disable JavaScript would not have fun shopping at So with your response, are you implying that you do not really take this handful of non-JavaScript users into consideration anymore when you write an application? I'm particularly interested in how employers see this; do they even care anymore if a user has JavaScript disabled when they build their business sites? Thanks.
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 40340408
The general consensus is that they should be able to browse the site easily enough and, for example, in a shopping site, add to the basket and check out.
The js should be used to add all the fancy stuff like adding to the basket without reloading the page, when there is no js then the page will need to be reloaded.

I said preclude you from using the internet - that's erroneous, what I meant was being able to utilise the internet the way a site might be intended to be used.
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Author Comment

ID: 40340442
Gary, I get it that if one has decided to include non-JavaScript users into consideration, that one has to plan for that during development. But you didn't answer the other question -- from your experience with employers, do they for the most part require developers to take these minority of users into consideration?

I came from Adobe Flex where applications live within Flash player, a platform where this concern was a non-issue. So I need to get a feel whether or not employers generally require developers to cover non-JavaScript users as well. What is your opinion?
LVL 110

Accepted Solution

Ray Paseur earned 250 total points
ID: 40340451
JavaScript and HTTP cookies are more-or-less requirements for functionality of most popular web sites today.  While it's true that the client can disable both of these capabilities, I'm 100% with Gary in saying that these clients are edge cases who can be ignored for most business purposes.  If you want to see what life is like on the internet, turn off your JS and then try to use Google, Amazon, eBay, or Facebook to name a few.

Government purposes may be different.

But since there is always that edge case, HTML has a tag for that.  Example here:
<noscript>Your browsing experience will be much better with JavaScript enabled!</noscript>

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LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 40340452
Yes they will in some cases - depends on the company and type of website, a website shouldn't be dependant on Js to work at the most basic level e.g. click some links to see the different pages.
Js should be used to supplement the website.

Author Comment

ID: 40340457
Ray, thanks for your feedback. Like with Gary, I ask you the same thing. Based on your experience and observations, do employers out there require developers to still take non-JavaScript users into consideration?
LVL 110

Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 40340471
My sense is "yes, but..."  Most business employers will make business decisions, and if the cost to build the site increases markedly when you're building for non-JS browsers, they may decide to trade off the cost against the expected value.  I've seen sites that said nothing more in the noscript tag than "You must have JavaScript enabled to use this site."

On the other hand, government sites are not motivated by business choices.  These sites have all kinds of accessibility requirements, screen readers for the blind, controls for people with no hands, etc.  So I expect the answer will depend at least partly on who the employer might be.
LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 40340477
On the sites that I maintain and have tracking data for, one shows 1.4% of the people have javascript disabled.  The other two sites are 0.5% and 0.1%.  My "business" employers know that I'm using javascript because they know it's needed for some things and they know they can't do it.

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