What is AJAX?

AJAX is an acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML. AJAX is a web development approach for creating dynamic and interactive web applications. AJAX allows for web applications to respond almost instantly to user interaction, without waiting for the web server to respond to user requests. AJAX allows a website to communicate with the web server seamlessly and without interference.

Recently the use of AJAX of has grown as users become more accustomed to faster response times and instant gratification. Google’s ability to suggest search terms is a common example of AJAX that saves time for millions of web users every day. Check out the following tutorial video by Steven Holinster for more information:

AJAX Issues

AJAX has also received criticism for some of the issues that accompany its capabilities. AJAX isn’t compatible with some of the expected functionalities that users are accustomed too. A common example of this is that the back button of a browser is often rendered useless by AJAX, because the responses of the web application are not recorded in the browser history.

Similarly, users can’t bookmark a specific state of an AJAX application. Also search engine spiders are unable to properly index the many states of an AJAX application. Besides client-side issues, AJAX can result in complicated code that is difficult to maintain and places increased demands on servers.

AJAX Example

Click on the thumbnail below to see an example of how AJAX can display a picture without loading a new page.
This is an example of AJAX.

AJAX Resources

AJAX Tutorial by w3schools.com
Top 20 Ajax Tutorials
25 Excellent Ajax Techniques and Examples

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