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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ajax - The New Technology Moniker

Curt Hibbs writes,"In a few short months, Ajax has moved from an obscure and rarely used technology to a very hot thing".In the beginning, there was the World Wide Web. Compared with desktop applications, web applications were slow and clunky. People liked web applications anyway because they were conveniently available from anywhere, on any computer that had a browser. Then Microsoft created XMLHttpRequest. In Internet Explorer 5, which let browser-side JavaScript communicate with the web server in the background without requiring the browser to display a new web page. That made it possible to develop more fluid and responsive web applications. Mozilla and Apple Safari followed soon.
Few sites used XMLHttpRequest since its debut in 1998. Google started to change that when it released a series of high-profile web applications with sleek new UIs powered by XMLHttpRequest. The most visually impressive of these is Google Maps, which gives you the illusion of being able to drag around an infinitely sizable map in its little map window.While Google's prominent use of XMLHttpRequest dramatically demonstrated that vastly improved UIs for web apps were possible, it was Jesse James Garrett's February 18 essay that finally gave this technique a usable name: Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). This blog covered it here as soon as it was published. That was the tipping point. And the new Ajax name spread like wildfire. Curt Hibbs adds, he has not seen seen such rapid and near universal adoption of a new technology moniker!

Ajax essentially serves as an intermediary between the browser and the server, and while we typically assume that addition of this intermediate layer may make things take longer, here, it's just the opposite. Ajax sends stuff to the server on demand and much of the time it can handle the request locally itself, providing for more immediate interactions and feedback that are so integral to the current web applications. On top of this based on the context and need when Ajax determines that it needs to engage the server for data/processing, this is effected in a non destructive way not affecting the flow of the user's experience. In a AJAX centric web application, the responsiveness of the user interface dramatically improves and makes it feel much more like a desktop application.Web pages that upload files are often frustrating to users because the user receives no feedback on the status of the upload while it progresses. Using Ajax, you can communicate with the server during the upload to retrieve and display the status of the upload. The Web has come a long way since the days of isolated web sites serving up static pages. We are slowly moving into a new era where sites are dynamically interconnected, web APIs allow us to easily build on top of existing services, and the web user interface is becoming more fluid and responsive

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"