What is AJAX?
After seeing a couple of my recent experiments mislabeled as AJAX-enabled, I think some explanation is in order.
What is AJAX?
What AJAX isn't
So, where does the confusion come from? With pages no longer going through the usual refresh cycle, AJAX creates a user experience where parts of the page update like magic. But this magic is merely a side effect of the technology, not a direct result. It's DOM scripting that produces the experience.
The preview functionality on this page, for example, never needs to hit the server to actually display the information. The month validator, also recently described as AJAX, never has to hit the server to validate the results. The search functionality on this site, however, is AJAX enabled. It actually makes a call to the server to return results and update the page.
Is it AJAX?
The next time you see some dynamic functionality on a site and wonder if it's AJAX-enabled, ask yourself if the page needed anything from the server to perform the task. If it didn't then there's a good chance it's not using it. Ultimately, nothing beats checking the source code to know for sure!
Want to know more about AJAX, check out the detailed description in Wikipedia.
Thanks that certainly clears it up a lot. I never seen that paper from adaptivepath and have been wondering what the heck the whole big deal with AJAX was I kept looking and looking and people showing example when they were really doing DHTML I was seriously sitting there going ok what is the difference between AJAX and DHTML. I had been doing the IE XMLHttpRequest for a long time as well I just always considered it DHTML as well but now it has a name. Now does this also include Flash? I know years ago even in Flash 4 I could do XML requests back to the server and update flash, while this may have changed I haven't done Flash stuff since 4.0 but would that be considered AJAX as well?
Yeah, this stuff has been around for a while -- but I don't think what we now call AJAX had a name before.
By the way, great job on the design of this site, Jonathan! The color work is awesome, and your use of three columns is exemplary.
I've heard it called Remote Scripting as well. Previously, for cross-browser support, people used hidden iframes that would run and upon reloading would pass information back to the main window.
Agreed on all but one: not just XML. I think fetching any server-side output counts as remote scripting or AJAX. It's a pars pro toto.
I think anyone interested in using AJAX should read this article first.
The interest in AJAX (aka DHTML) is great but there is nothing new or unique about it. It's just the latest in a long list of must have buzzwords. Google made this version of remote server calls popular and AdaptivePath jumped on it.
I got caught up in the hype myself. I read dozens of articles about it just to realize that I created many "AJAX" web apps before the term AJAX.
Google releases AJAXSLT.
Take a look on the hp of Backbase
They're specialised in making so called Rich Internet Apps. Check out the demo of the webshop especially. It is a great example of what can be accomplished with AJAX-based design.
Great job on the design of this site!
Does web/graphic designers need to know this or is it just a developer thing?
Thanks for the description, i have heard often of ajax, but i didnÂ´t know ot exactly...