AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) is a web browsing technique. AJAX is not a programming language or a tool, but a concept.


Introduction to AJAX

AJAX is a client-side scripting that communicates with the Server without postbacks. With AJAX, parts of web page updates asynchronously without reloading the web page. Here asynchronous means that the event fires in background independent of the main application flow. So AJAX is independent of web Server program. We can create fast, interactive and dynamic web pages with AJAX. In a classic web page i.e. page without AJAX, there is synchronous exchange of information with the Server. In synchronous exchange, when the content changes in any part of the web page, the page reloads and refreshes. The users have to wait till the page reloads, for the next action.


AJAX Applications uses an engine which acts as an intermediary between a user browser and the Server. The user browser loads the AJAX engine, which displays the contents on the page. This engine runs in the background. It uses JavaScript to communicate with the Web browser. When an end-user adds some data or click on the page, the page sends a JavaScript call to AJAX engine. The engine communicates with the Server to get response and updates the page with more information.


AJAX Is Based On Open Standards

AJAX is based on the following standards:

  • Web page styling with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
  • Data is stored in XML format and fetched from the Server.
  • In background, data exchanges asynchronously with the Server using XMLHttpRequestobjects in the browser.
  • Client side JavaScript to display and interact with the information and make everything happen.

  • AJAX Technologies:

    AJAX uses XHTML for content, CSS for presentation, DOM and JavaScript for dynamic content display.

    JavaScript

  • Client side scripting language.
  • An adhesive for AJAX method.
  • DOM

  • An interface for accessing and manipulating structured documents.
  • Represents the structure of XML and HTML documents.
  • CSS

  • Used in styling the content.
  • XMLHttpRequest

  • It is a JavaScript object that interacts with the Server asynchronously.

  • AJAX Examples

    Applications like Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, weather forecasting websites, etc uses AJAX techniques for dynamic content display in web pages.


    Browser Support for AJAX

    All the browsers do not support AJAX i.e. they does not support creation ofXMLHttpRequest object. The popular and widely used browsers which support AJAX are:

  • Mozilla Firefox 1.0 and above
  • Netscape version 7.1 and above
  • Apple Safari 1.2 and above
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and above
  • Opera 7.6 and above

  • Benefits of AJAX

  • AJAX makes asynchronous calls to the Server, so the user does not have to wait for the entire page to reload again.
  • AJAX applications are faster, user-friendly and responsive.
  • AJAX performs well in terms of speed where the Internet bandwidth is low.

  • Drawbacks of AJAX

  • AJAX pages are difficult to test.
  • AJAX pages are not SEO friendly.
  • Client side JavaScript code is publicly visible to everyone including hackers.
  • Old browsers do not support XMLHttpRequest.

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