I was using some cool features of jQuery to do AJAX instead of using UpdatePanels, but when The Intern wanted to do some AJAX he got totally lost. In the end I taught him to use both jQuery and (despite how dangerous it is), Ihow to use UpdatePanels. In the end I encouraged him to use the UpdatePanel with his pages, read on to find out why.
1. Updating the DOM using jQuery and Web Services is an Advanced Skill
2. Updating the DOM using jQuery and Web Services Reduced Maintainability
3. Using UpdatePanels Doesn't Change the ASP.NET PostBack Model
The UpdatePanel is just another ASP.NET tag. The PostBack model is retained, you still have Button OnClick events, you still have TextBox.Text, Page_Load etc. All of the code is still retained within one ASPX/ASPX.CS file pair. Almost any .NET developer, no matter how junior, should be able to follow this code. That makes the code maintainable.
In the end, even though jQuery will be shipping with future versions of ASP.NET, the .NET Framework, and Visual Studio, it's still a relatively new concept. We need to proceed with it, but this is new ground so we have to blaze a trail that the slower movings guys can follow.
One of the big benefits we have as .NET developers is the MSDN Library. I like to use MSDN as a scale for maintainability. If it is in MSDN then I consider it general knowledge that a new developer should know or be able to find easily. Otherwise I have to document it really well so that at least a mid-level developer should be able to figure out my application.
We have to be careful that the people maintaining the code behind us know what we've done, otherwise our awesome code gets rewritten by newb developers who can't figure it out. If we can write maintainable code then hopefully the developers behind us will learn something and eventually become more advanced in their skills too.