Friday, June 8, 2012

In 2011 is it truly necessary to still degrade js?

Serious question.

I tried most of the famous websites (including facebook) and I can say that tons of functionality doesn't degrade at all with js disabled. I've been always told that js should degrade gracefully, but does this still applies in these day and age?

ie6 support is being dropped by several sites, and most of the web2.0 relies heavily on js (especially ajax, I even found some sites that doesn't let you login without js enabled).

What are your thoughts about it?


I want to add that I for one develop webapps without js first and then enhancing them with it. The issue is that year after year js is more and more a part of the web. HTML5, canvas and heavy js apps are starting to rise. Will we ever reach the point where js will be compulsory in most of the websites? I talked about facebook because the site actually degrades and is usable without js but most of the functionalities and shortcuts are stripped to the poin that the site feels dull and old. There are also example where js is better than server side scripting, for instance the ordering of large tables is faster and less server intensive that a php implementation.

p.s. I don't know how to make this a community wiki, but I will, I'm just interested in your opinions.

Source: Tips4all


  1. In 2011 there are still several important types of users for whom you can't assume javascript will function properly:

    search robots
    browsers for visually impaired users
    feature phones
    corporate browsers, thin clients, etc still using IE6 or whatever
    REST-based clients by fellow developers
    your frontend usability testing tools
    weird new browsers like my mom's Roku TV box

    So I think it's still best to offer graceful degradation.

  2. Even if it isn't necessary, I still prefer to write applications that don't need JS enabled.

    I don't think there is much audience for non-JS versions of your web apps, and even if there were, who cares? It's such a small percentage of people, you're not going to annoy very many people by forcing them to upgrade their browsers.

    However, I don't write degrading JS for my users, I write it for me...

    In fact, I don't write degrading JS at all - I write enhancing JS.

    I feel that I can write applications with more direction and success if I first write them without JavaScript, and add the JavaScript later to enhance the application.

  3. As always with these questions, the answer is it depends.

    It depends on your audience (which will likely differ widely from any generic browser statistics you can find).

    How many of them have JavaScript disabled? Do you care about those users? If not, then sure, don't degrade gracefully.

    That said, at the very least, I'd recommend you at least make your website usable and navigable without JavaScript.

  4. The site should "work". It doesn't have to sing or dance, but it shouldn't exclude anyone without JS.

    Most screen readers still don't use JS, so all your content should be available to them.

  5. Who is your target? Geeks, or employees of companies (or worse, military institutions) where javascript is banished ?

    It's still good to know how to degrade, even if you don't have to apply it 100% for every app you make.

  6. I think that javascript is a technology and that should cost it to improve not to degrade, we cannot degrade technology just because it could effect minor community and not just because it could bring some threat.