While it’s fair to say that Progressive Enhancement (PE) is not the next big thing that is going to revolutionize the way that websites and applications are developed nowadays, it’s a clever paradigm that allows developers to dramatically increase the accessibility of web pages. Unlike its counterpart, Graceful Degradation, PE permits you to implement a certain number of features which are designed to work on user machines that have minimal hardware/software requirements.
On the other hand, users with more advanced settings will be able to use an “enhanced version” of those features, but in all cases the core functionality is always maintained. This obviously allows you to create better and more accessible web pages. Not surprisingly, the popularity of PE continues to grow, as more and more web designers start discovering its numerous benefits.
Of course, explaining why PE is a good thing without demonstrating how to utilize it in some concrete and realistic use cases is a pretty pointless process. With that idea in mind, in the tutorials that preceded this one I coded some easy-to-follow examples that showed how to use PE when building a simple image gallery. In these examples I combined the functionality of this paradigm with a pinch of PHP and Ajax in one single web application.
Creating the gallery was very educational, even though it was only an introductory example. As you may have guessed, it’s possible to enjoy PE's advantages in many other situations. In this fourth part of the series I’m going to show how to use this approach when reading and displaying on screen the contents of a text file via Ajax.
Do you want to see how this will be done, while preserving the accessibility of the target file? Then jump forward and read the lines to come!