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Re: Ajax Back/Forward History problem document state by document.save()

From: Sylvain Hellegouarch <sh@defuze.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 09:51:41 +0100
Message-ID: <1132649501.4382dc1dece34@webmail.defuze.org>
To: public-webapi@w3.org

> I like the concept of using the browser interface to interact with web
> application is a customised way. But I dislike the idea of web
> developers being about to "control" my user experience. As a user I
> want to be the one in control, and I think that's pretty normal. I'm
> also afraid of what might happen with that kind of control in the
> wrong hands.

Fair enough, I totally agree. Nonetheless one might wonder if developers could
not provide pointers to the browser. Well to be fair, it already exists as you
mentioned with Link types next and prev in
http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#h-6.12.

> I tend to think as far as Web Application go, developers should be
> discouraged from trying to use the back/forward buttons to save the
> state of the application. If it's just a one page application, the
> back button should move you to the page BEFORE the application. If you
> have several "sections" to a web application, they should be treated
> as several separate pages. The idea of using the DOM and Ajax to
> re-build section one of an application to look like section two
> without loaded a separate page seems like using Ajax for the sake of
> Ajax.

I agree very much. While playing around with Ajax in a blog-like application, I
quickly arrived at the same conclusion and in the end I found it was not really
improving the user experience, in fact specifically because it was breaking the
back/forward buttons. So in the end I do not use Ajax that much. I'd rather
building a better web application using the REST architecture, even if it means
having less fancy stuff on my sites.

But my point is that I was wondering if eventually trying to solve that problem
was not showing us that we haven't yet "understood" the power of those buttons.

One could for example imagine a browser learning from the way an user moves
around web pages to "propose" specific related targets when moving forward or
backward.  That's where semantic web could also be of interest, don't you
think?

Anyway, sorry for being a bit off topic but IMO we should ask how those buttons
are being used and could also be in the future if we want to offer a good
technical solution. My 2 cents :)

- Sylvain

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