I’m a little confused by his logic. He says:
“There was no added business benefit I can find to justify the reason for degrading.”
The implication here is that graceful degradation is some kind of expensive luxury that will cost both time and money. In reality, it is simply good practice, like using semantic markup, CSS for layout and ensuring that your pages are accessible — each of which have also been misconstrued in the past as “extras” that will cost more. In fact, the opposite is true. Graceful degradation (like semantic, accessible markup) is simply a matter of doing things the right way from the start — it doesn’t cost anything extra.
If you find yourself in a situation where it will cost you extra time and effort to rectro-actively make sure that your Ajax site degrades gracefully then, I’m sorry, but you’ve probably built it the wrong way to begin with.
It’s all in the approach. In the comments to the post, Gabe da Silveira states:
Once you can view Ajax this way, then it becomes clear that graceful degradation is built in from the start, almost without thinking about it.
I’m not aiming to single out Justin here. His mental model of Ajax is very prevalent. He begins his post by saying:
I hate to say it, but the problem lies with how the application logic was planned and implemented from the start.
The issues of progressive enhancement and graceful degradation run through the DOM Scripting book. For those of you who have a copy of the book to hand, you can skip to the last chapter to read more on my thoughts about Ajax and progressive enhancement.
Posted by Jeremy on Tuesday, October 18th, 2005 at 2:00am