I have mixed feelings about buzz-words. They save you the time of having to say or write a ridiculously long name but at the same time they become representative of so many things, both good and bad. The obvious example here is Ajax which, let’s face it is far easier than typing Asynchronous JavaScript and XML all of the time. Not to mention that Ajax just sounds cool. We have Jesse James Garrett to thank for the term, and when I first read his article Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications I was really excited. Here was a way to change the content of a page without the annoying page reload, the birth of true web applications. But sometimes the web moves too fast for it’s own good.

Ajax was the most exciting thing to hit the web since Flash and was quickly heading down the same path. Ajax was ushering in the new age of Web 2.0 and everybody wanted to get involved. All over the internet Ajax web apps were popping up, everybody wanted to ride the wave and caution was thrown to the wind. My excitement over Ajax quickly turned to despair and frustration as the majority of these applications were completely unaccessible. I decided that I was going to keep my head down and avoid this ‘revolution’ no matter the cost, however this plan was recently hijacked… Or should I say Hijaxed.

The answer to our problem should have been simple, but it took Jeremy Keith to point it out. With progressive enhancement, we use unobtrusive DOM scripting to implement JavaScript. We develop websites that operate whether the client has JavaScript or not. As JavaScript is one of the core technologies behind Ajax it makes sense that we apply the same unobtrusive methodology. Jeremy coined the term Hijax and I love it. By definition Hijax is accessible Ajax.

Of course you have to plan for the presence of Ajax right from the start, but then you build a site/app that works without JavaScript using good old fashioned forms. Finally you hijack the form submission and implement Ajax. Hijax, did I mention that I love it. So I am promoting the use of the buzz-word, say it loudly and proudly: Hijax!