Enter AJAX

I first came across AJAX at my job. I was trying to give an application some Web capabilities and I realized that the normal way the browser works was very limited. In an article at News.com, Martin LaMonica has also realized the limits we are at:

At the moment, Web pages are limited, compared with most desktop applications. AJAX frees Web pages from the clunkiness they suffer from by making them more interactive and so more functional, Web developers say.

Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. In my current application, I’m soft of ignoring the XML portion, but the ability to request information Asynchronously from the server is an insane advantage. Google has been taking advantage of Ajax for a long while now. We see it in GMail and in Google Maps. You can tell when Ajax is at work because a key effect of Ajax is new browser requests without the browser refreshing, sometimes without the user’s knowledge. Take GMail for instance; your inbox is frequently refreshed in the background while the user is on the same page. Or Google Maps; when the user moves around on the map, new map data is requested on the fly. Lately Yahoo has also jumped on the Ajax train with their own map service. A webmessenging service called Meebo also uses Ajax beautifully. Ajax is the way of the future and I am very happy that I’m going to be part of that.