Adam Bosworth explains why some software works and some does not. He brings it down to two basic factors – Physics and Human Psychology. It does sound pretty abstract, but he elaborates it further by specifying that success of software has always required a faster hardware technology.
Indeed, speed or lack thereof has played a role in hampering the success of various software innovations, including AJAX, Bosworth said. Had chips been a little faster and broadband been more ubiquitous, AJAX might have caught on a lot faster. However, the physics of the technology was only one of the factors holding AJAX back.
Technologies like AJAX required two things to succeed – better infrastructure and a paradigm shift in usage of applications. Admittedly, this shift was not very easy for me. I did fight with it earlier, probably I still fight with it to some extent. However, Adam hits nail in the head by saying that AJAX suffered earlier because of lack of understanding of using them. It was all about cool effects and not productivity. In fact, the conversation does brush with simplicity on the way.
Also, “You don’t need to remember how an app works,” Bosworth said. “There’s a big difference between making something easy to use and making it productive.” In other words, just because people can easily learn to use an application doesn’t mean using the application will make them more productive.
Simplicity at the cost of sacrificing productivity can hurt in longterm. Not to say that software has to be complex to be productive, but it has been more than a couple of times that I have come across arguments that use simplicity to justify all developments and changes.
AJAX sure is popular, but a lot of work has to be done in to make its adoption successful and easier.