[ic] Client side javascript and the [button] tag.

Peter peter at pajamian.dhs.org
Wed May 19 11:31:56 EDT 2004

Ethan E. Rowe wrote:
> Also keep in mind that there are still plenty of users out there using 
> non-javascript-supporting browsers such as Lynx.  This is an issue that 
> comes up when you worry about accessible design (though the 
> accessibility guidelines tend to focus more on how you use HTML and CSS 
> stylistically); my employer (National Braille Press, Inc) primarily 
> serves the braille-reading community, and I've consequently learned that 
> there are a lot of visually-impaired computer users out there who prefer 
> the command line interface to the visually-oriented GUIs of Windows, 
> Mac, etc.  Such users will employ browsers such as Lynx, and it's 
> extremely frustrating for that community when sites are reliant on 
> Javascript.  Just yesterday I encountered a site that requires users to 
> register in order to access any significant features, and the 
> registration form uses an <a href="...">...</a> tag rather than a 
> standard submit button; the anchor tag's HREF points to a javascript 
> function that authenticates and submits the form.  Were the javascript 
> function called via the OnSubmit event of the <form>, that would be one 
> thing (Lynx would be free to ignore the OnSubmit); however, in this 
> case, the link just doesn't work in Lynx and consequently, the site is 
> not usable for a particular user community.
> This is getting pretty picky, but perhaps it's of interest to you.  Web 
> design frequently gets into the sticky area of backwards compatibility 
> and it doesn't always make sense for a particular organization to try to 
> support older browsers.  However, considering the flexibility 
> Interchange gives you in form validation and error-reporting, the safest 
> choice for such things is to avoid javascript for critical functions 
> (unless you can absolutely guarantee that your users will run a certain 
> type of browser), and failing that, always back it up with server-side 
> validation/processing.

I agree with this, though I wasn't going to bother getting into it.  My 
way of doing Javascript is that I will first make the site look and work 
as well as I possibly can without Javascript, then use Javascript to 
enhance it, and always in such a way so that the site is still 
functional without it (just may lack some pretty feature that Javascript 

One example is that on a particular program I have a form that updates 
the list of states/provinces/regions whenever the country is changed in 
a drop-down menu.  The javascript simply submits the form from an 
onchange event but before I ever put that bit of javascript in I had the 
form tested and working with a submit button which just had to be 
clicked after the country was changed.  That submit button is still 
there but only people who don't have javascript need to use it.


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