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Five Questions with John Crain concerning AJAX

Author: JLB

Published On: February 9, 2009

Let’s talk Ajax… what is it?
AJAX is a combination of web development techniques used to create interactive web applications.  In short, AJAX allows an application to send and retrieve data in the background.

Why is it called Ajax?
AJAX is an acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.  Like its name suggests, AJAX is built upon the Javascript programming language.

What functionality can Ajax give a web page?
Perhaps the single greatest use and most intended purpose of AJAX is to allow the passing of information without hindering user experience of a given web application. 
Facebook is a great example of a site chockfull of AJAX-based applications.

Any disadvantages to using Ajax?
For starters, users must have Javascript turned on in order to enjoy the functionality of AJAX. 
Another major disadvantage is that AJAX, at this point, is unable to take advantage of a browser’s history engine.  This simply means that when pages are updated with content, the revisions are not shown in the user’s browser history.

What is one recent example where you’ve used Ajax?
We at JLB are in the middle of rolling out our own, in-house, custom content management system loaded with AJAX-y goodness.  Adding & deleting pages, files & element without the need for refreshing and rearranging elements by dragging & dropping are just a few fun features that AJAX enables us to include.  See Swift.


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