Ajax: From Tipping Point to Koolaid Point

Kathy Sierra explains a variation of the “Tipping Point”:

The Koolaid Point: A Threshold at which enough users become so passionate that others accuse them of “drinking the koolaid”. Often fueled by commercial success.

Kathy makes a great point: passion doesn’t mean happiness – people can be passionately opposed too.

Nice to see how universal this phenomenon is – Ajax isn’t listed, but the backlash has certainly begun. HTML Matters (presumably a joke on “AjaxMatters“) is doing a great job at becoming the poster-child for the counter-revolution. It’s not surprising. When the original Design Patterns book came out, people derided it on the basis that they’d already used those patterns, so there’s nothing new! Ajax is a pattern, and people either don’t see the point (perhaps because they’ve never seen Google Maps in action), feel that Javascript is such a scarce resource and – though it’s almost been around for a decade – we shouldn’t rely on browser support. And some are just resentful that latecomers are jumping aboard when they’ve been doing it all along (the same bizzare attitude of people who yearn for the days of pre-web internet).

Anyway, I’m pleased for Ajax Patterns to link to any of those sites, and it’s for that reason I included the “Ajax Achilles Heel” article when I first created that page. At one point, someone deleted it, with best intentions I presume, but I quickly restored it. It’s good to have sites like this to keep things in check. And, though I didn’t think about it that way before, it’s proof that Ajax has hit Koolaid Point.


Asides on the Koolaid Terminology:

  • Where I’m from, the Koolaid Point would be called the Tall Poppy Syndrome.
  • Some labels for the transition points of the traditional product life cycle:
    • Tipping Point: Introduction->Growth
    • Koolaid Point: Growth->Maturity
    • Jump-The-Shark Point: Maturity->Decline
  • The Creating Passionate Users blog is awesome. If and when a book comes out, its popularity will extend well beyond the software community.

0 thoughts on Ajax: From Tipping Point to Koolaid Point

  1. You might notice that htmatters.net deals with many topics other than Ajax and actually was not inspired by Ajaxmatters: otherwise my “backlash” article would have come out when the blog first did. Anyway, I’m just trying to be a voice of reason. Javascript and AJAX can be a great technology, but you had better be aware of it’s shortcomings. Plus it’s getting over hyped to the point where people are coining terms incorporating the term “AJAX” that really just amount to plain old server side scripting, see my new article:

    http://htmatters.net/htm/1/2005/08/DEGRADABLE-AJAX.cfm

    and/or google for “degradable ajax” and you’ll see what I mean. I won’t be surprised if when all the buzz is over the Javascript technology that really takes off is JSON, but alas it too is severely flawed:

    http://htmatters.net/htm/1/2005/07/evaling-JSON.cfm

    Not to worry, I’m fixing it 😉

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