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    I’ve always restricted my use of javascript to aesthetics and never used it for function unless I could provide a <noscript> replacement for the function. Lately the use of javascript/jquery has been on the rise and more sites are using it heavily for function.

    I’m almost to the point where I’m ready to drop all support for those users who chose to browse with it turned off and just use <noscript> to redirect them to a page with instructions on how to turn it on. I’ll have to give it some more thought before I’m ready to commit to a change like that.

    But I was wondering… are there devices that do not support javascript at all? I know there are still text-only browser users and I see them as making a choice as much as those that just turn it off in FF and IE. But are there others that don’t have a choice? I’ve never looked into supporting other types of devices and really don’t know anything about them. I guess I just assumed that they had js support but I don’t know for sure.


    Ok, I can see where you’re coming from but this is definitely a bad idea.

    You mentioned that you know of some sites that use JavaScript (solely) for functionality, what makes you think the developers of these sites are right?

    Many people have NO choice but to browse without JavaScript. For example some corporation firewalls block JavaScript before it appears on the clients computer, meaning that JavaScript will not work AND the noscript tag will not work either (because the browser does not have JavaScript disabled).

    Many mobile devices don’t support JavaScript, even Opera mobile (4) has a dodgy way of processing JavaScript, even when it’s on a relatively new mobile device (e.g. An S60 model such as N95).

    I used to browse using Firefox with the NoScript extension, I chose to do this for security reasons. Many many many Firefox users browse the web with this extension – just something to think about …

    You brought up a good point about text readers – A few of them work okay with most JavaScript (JAWS works quite well I think) but support is still very sketchy across the board.

    And what about people browsing the web using other types of sensory perceptions (i.e. other than sight)? …

    Okay, so I’ve listed why it wouldn’t work but I haven’t yet covered why you shouldn’t do it.

    The purpose of JavaScript (in the modern day) is to provide a new level of interactivity and enhance the user’s experience. Ideally, JavaScript alone should not be used to provide functionality. When using JS anything you should make sure everything degrades… – Actually, doing this is a bit out of date, the new way to build a website is with "progressive enhancement" in mind, meaning that a website should be build from the basics upwards, progressively through each layer of interactivity, HTML > CSS > JavaScript.

    If you ever find yourself thinking that a certain function within your site should be achieved just using JavaScript then try and think of other ways you can do it, maybe creating a server-side solution (a fallback) and then having Ajax functionality to access it for those with JS would work nicely.

    In a way it’s the same as dropping support for a browser, it simply shouldn’t be done. I’m not talking about CSS and cross-browser differences here, I’m talking about basic access to content. If you’re using IE5 to access the BBC news site, the last thing you want is a big popup coming up ordering you to upgrade your browser.

    I hope that’s answered your questions.

    For you to read:

    Progressive Enhancement :arrow:
    You cannot rely on JavaScript being available. Period. :arrow:


    That’s always been my view on javascript. Design without it and then add it as "icing on the cake" for those that can see it. I just had a particularly annoying moment finding myself with a very cool javascript solution for a project and being unable to use it :(

    I definately don’t agree with all of that though. If someone makes a choice to turn off javascript, they should not expect the world to make allowances for them by always supplying alternatives (not pointing fingers at you but at the web world in general). If someone makes a choice to use an out of date browser, I’d lump them into the same category. People who continue to use an out of date browser because they don’t know any better shouldn’t be punished but then again, if sites stopped working for them, maybe they’d discover it was because of their out of date browser and upgrade. I have no patience for people who expect an entire industry to cater to their whims when they choose not to use current technology. It’s like expecting the entire web world to offer pretty 16 color, 320×200 resolution pages because somewhere, someone wants to continue using their cga monitor.

    HOWEVER, I believe that allowances should be made for people who do not have a choice. I was under the impression that mobile devices fully supported javascript. I wasn’t sure though. That’s what prompted the initial post. I had completely forgotten about the people at work who have it turned off for them. <sigh> Those two reasons alone ensure that javascript should continue to be used solely as an extra level of eye-candy and that the situation will not change any time soon. Mobile support will most likely increase soon but work access attitudes will not.

    Disclaimer: The views of this post are not necessarily the views of this site, just of some hothead that wishes the world was different sometimes. :D

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