Tales from the Evil Empire

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Bertrand Le Roy

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March 2008 - Posts

How to make UpdatePanel accessible

DotNetSlackers just published my article on how to make UpdatePanel accessible:


A case for partial rendering

I've been seeing more and more authors lately dismissing partial rendering (a.k.a. UpdatePanel) as a poor man's version of Ajax, something you should only choose if you're too lazy to implement "true" Ajax.

I think that view not only has a slightly pedantic ring (isn't laziness one of the most powerful driving forces in computer science? isn't it perfectly ok to choose the most productive approach in some contexts?) but also misses the point that there are cases where server-side rendering absolutely makes sense.

For example, search engines don't execute JavaScript today, which means that if you're doing all the rendering on the client, your contents won't be indexed. If you want search engines to index your site properly, the contents must be included in the GET response, preferably in nice HTML. That simply means that contents must be rendered on the server during the GET request in order to be picked up by search engines. If you also need to update that same contents later, doing it on the client from pure data means that you need to have the rendering logic reproduced in client code. The easiest way today to only write your rendering logic once and make it work both on the GET request and on subsequent out-of-band requests is partial rendering.

IE8 to look forward: the Evil Empire listened

I've said some time ago that I personally would have preferred if IE8 was in standard mode by default, that it made more sense in the long run at the price of moderate suffering in the short term.

Well, it seems like announcing the "meta-tag" user agent switch well before the first public release of the new browser wasn't a random decision. The idea really was to stir up the debate well in advance and make it possible to revert their decision if the community reached a consensus that it was a bad one.

And they just did. A few months later, the community almost unanimously rejected the idea more or less strongly and the IE team decided to follow that consensus and make the browser use the potentially breaking standard mode the default. It could be argued that the community really is the most vocal part of the developer audience and that they may and do have different opinions and preoccupations from the silent, real-world developers out there.

Still, I think the IE team showed vision in announcing this enough in advance that they could act on the feedback, and great courage on potentially alienating some of their customers, just so they could do The Right Thing.

Kudos, I'm impressed and glad that you guys are in command of the fate of IE.


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