Programming: Working with AJAX

Submitted by John Chris | Category: Programming | Published on Mar 04, 2011
Ajax is a way of programming for the Web that gets rid of the hourglass. Data, content, and design are merged together into a seamless whole.

Ajax is a way of programming for the Web that gets rid of the hourglass. Data, content, and design are merged together into a seamless whole. When your customer clicks any screen element on an Ajax driven application, there is very little lag time and the page is displayed instantly without refreshing or reloading.

Ajax is a group of interrelated Web development techniques used on the client-side to create interactive Web applications. In an offshore software development scenario, Ajax Web applications can retrieve data from the server asynchronously in the background without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page. The use of Ajax techniques has led to an increase in the interactive or dynamic interfaces on Web pages and better quality of Web services due to the asynchronous mode. Data is usually retrieved using the XMLHttpRequest object. Despite the name, the use of JavaScript and XML is not actually required, nor do the requests need to be asynchronous.

Use of Ajax Technology is leading in businesses focusing on providing outsourcing software development service. Ajax is a way of developing Web applications that combines:

  • XHTML and CSS standards based presentation
  • Interaction with the page through the DOM
  • Data interchange with XML and XSLT
  • Asynchronous data retrieval with XMLHttpRequest
  • JavaScript to tie it all together


An Ajax application eliminates the start-stop-start-stop nature of interaction on the Web by introducing an intermediary — an Ajaxengine — between the user and the server. It is always thought that adding an intermediary layer to the application will make it less responsive; however, the opposite is true in Ajax.

Instead of loading a webpage, at the start of the session, the browser loads an Ajax engine — written in JavaScript and usually tucked away in a hidden frame. This engine is responsible for rendering the user interface and communicating with the server. The Ajax engine allows the user’s interaction with the application to happen asynchronously — independent of communication with the server. So the user is never staring at a blank browser window and the hourglass icon, waiting for the server to complete with the process.

Every user action that normally would generate an HTTP request takes the form of a JavaScript call to the Ajax engine instead. Any response to a user action that doesn’t require a trip back to the server ,such as simple data validation, editing data in memory, and even some navigation, the engine handles on its own. If the engine needs something from the server in order to respond, such as submitting data for processing, loading additional interface code, or retrieving new data, the engine makes those requests asynchronously, usually using XML, without stalling a user’s interaction with the application.

The biggest challenges in creating Ajax applications lies to the designer and not the developer since the core Ajax technologies are mature, stable, and well understood.

So, if you are still not using Ajax technology for developing Web applications, then you are lagging behind in the world of technology and advancement.

Related Resources:

Ajax (Programming) on Wikipedia

AJAX Tutorial on Google Code


John Chris is the author of this article. He has been writing articles for Outsourcing software development companies like Q3 technologies since last three years. He also has a keen interest in Offshore software development services.


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