Move over AJAX, welcome AHAH

I jest. I just think it's interesting that people have taken the time to create an acronym and development process for something that everybody has been calling AJAX anyways. AHAH is Asychronous HTML and HTTP. HTML gets pregenerated on the server and then spit into the DOM via innerHTML. This is how I've always approached it. It just seemed so much easier and faster on the client side. As the team from 37signals is famous for saying: Less is More.

Published November 24, 2005 · Updated September 14, 2006
Categorized as JavaScript
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Thame said on November 24, 2005

Great, as if I needed to keep track of any more acronyms :D

Mike P. said on November 25, 2005

My wife calls it all 'jackass'. Pretty much my favorite name for it :-)

Gavin said on November 25, 2005

This can be a bit of a problem though. If you're serving a strict XHTML document with the w3c's preferred mime-type of application/xhtml+xml innerHTML simply doesn't work.

Maybe Ajax is going to kill xhtml in favour of HTML 4.01 strict?

Marco said on November 25, 2005

Hmm funny... I've always approached AJAX like this as well. I guess we were trendsetters then? ;)

Chris said on November 25, 2005

I completely agree. The 'AX' bit of 'AJAX' is not always necessary. I'd much rather use PHP to generate my HTML then chuck it into an element whole, rather than use PHP to generate XML, then parse that XML withJjavaScript, then show the results. Seems a waste of effort to me.

Jonathan Snook said on November 25, 2005

Gavin: Anne touches on the very subject of innerHTML in XML and it looks like all the latest browsers are moving to support it. Which means, while not W3C standard, we'll all still be able to do it.

Gavin said on November 25, 2005

That does look nice, but sadly no mention of Safari :-(

I'm probably just going to change over to HTML to save myself the extra effort. The only alternative is write/alter a framework that's XML friendly and I don't think it's worth the extra effort.

Garrett said on November 25, 2005

The purist in me worries that it's a scary mix of business logic and structure, but given the Microformat approach, it actually sounds like a pretty good idea.

Wesley Walser said on November 25, 2005

If what Chris is saying is what you are referring to Jonathan I think that sounds great, I have certainly though of doing that, but just assumed that what everyone else was doing was a more proper way.

Let me go ahead and ask a question while we are on the topic. Are we saying then that we have our (lets use PHP) PHP generate HTML when it is requested by Javascript then just return that HTMl via responseText instead of the traditional use of responseXML? Also, whats this about innerHTML, I am not familiar?

Wesley Walser said on November 25, 2005

Sorry for the request for information on innerHTML when you had already linked to a resource Jonathan, my apologies.

Jonathan Snook said on November 25, 2005

Garrett: The separation of view and model can be done just as easily on the server-side as it is on the client-side, if not more so. After all, your view and model are hopefully separated well enough for regular pages. It would be a simple matter to create mini-views for only those snippets that need to be rebuilt.

In the end, using this approach should mean less code overall (no client-side XML or XSLT handling required). And on the server-side, it may minimize the need to use XML as a transport format (depending on how you generate your views).

Si said on November 28, 2005

I tell you what, having worked for the Fire Service for two years, one more acronym won't hurt at all. It's the new method that'll cause more troubles than anything.

God damn Microformats - does anyone actually use any of their "standards" anyway?

Douglas Clifton said on November 29, 2005

All this hype about AHAH is just that, more buzz for the buzzards. It's always seemed pretty obvious to me that returning XML from your request script, parsing the XML or translating it with XSLT was overkill. Why not just return the native markup that will be inserted into the parent node of the DOM? HTML works just fine, if that's what you're using on the front, same with XHTML, although with a bit more care and the usual caveats.

Brad said on December 07, 2005

Utterly terrible. What is wrong with these people? Just write good code, make good products and stop making up ridiculous acronyms!

Giggle Girl said on April 17, 2006

I have done it! This will revolutionize web development!



This new acronym utlizes two technologies: XML and HTML.

Furthermore, it uses something I call the "AHAJAXER" -- which used to be known as the XMLHttpRequest Object, which is a part of many modern-day browsers.

What do you think?

The web will never be the same!

the original Giggle Girl

Dexter said on July 23, 2006

First, I tought it was a joke, but I realized that none of my application uses XML. I like the approach of AHAH for simple app. It's light, no bloated prototype or other lib which I don't need some fancy thing. Below is my AHAH creation. This page is all AHAH.


Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.