Saturday, December 18, 2004

Google Suggest makes JavaScript acceptable

Some time ago I checked out Google Suggest, a search engine that does suggestions for you as you type.

Originally I have always thought that using Javascript or any other client-side scripting language is evil and the root of several problems (not just security, but compatibility as well).

Lately I have started to shift towards thinking that JavaScript is acceptable if it makes the experience richer or enables some shortcuts not otherwise possible. Especially I find Javascript useful for usability purposes. The key is that the application should work without JavaScript at the same time, so that client-side scripting is not required. Google Suggest takes things a step forward in usability and speed by involving server-side processing by using XMLHttp objects for transmission.. Awesome.

Google has restored my faith in client-side scripting, first with their great invite-only Gmail service and now this. Our usability guy Tony has also made some really nice tricks with JavaScript in our Dicole product and there is more to come..

For a technical description of how the Google Suggest works, check out this great analysis of the code.

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