AJAX, A savior for the web applications from the exhausting round trips

By Billinghurst

Web based applications have completely revolutionized the way an enterprise is automated. Earlier desktop based applications ruled the roost residing on the powerful machines connected to each other, following the client server architecture. But with the advent and advancement of web based technologies, it became possible to bundle up the entire application on the internet, which made those applications easily accessible to every user, irrespective of where they are located. For the IT professionals, it became a lot easier to maintain those applications without having to visit various locations, where the applications are running.

But in case of web based applications, there was a problem, every user action on the browser based user interface resulted in a long trip from browser to server side scripts, and response from server was transmitted back to the browser. This round trip resulted in a not so comfortable flicker in the browser at every action of the user on the front end. Just when many users began to miss their neat and seamless interaction with the desktop based user interfaces, AJAX arrived on the IT scene in a major way. AJAX is an acronym, which expands to Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. As evident from the use of the word asynchronous in its name, AJAX enables communication of the client side with the server side in background, which does not disturb the display and appearance of the web application’s front end. Ever popular client side scripting language, JavaScript plays a very important role here; it provides the environment through which an AJAX object communicates with a server side script.

The most potent weapon in the armory of AJAX is the XMLHttpRequest object which actually sends a request from the browser to the server; server processes this request and sends a response back, which is finally displayed on the browser by using CSS. Hence it would be correct to say that AJAX is a concept which is actually implemented by the combination of XMLHttpRequest, JavaScript, CSS and XML. XML plays a very important role in this AJAX framework because data goes from browser to server and returns back from server to browser in XML format.

If you look at all the prominent web based applications today, especially those which most of us use regularly like Google and Facebook are full of state of the art features created using AJAX. You will never find an awkward flicker of any sorts anywhere. So if you are planning to pursue a career in web technologies, learning AJAX should be among your top priorities.

Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ajax_search,_chrome,_not_logged-in_vector,_default_options.jpg

Author: ucavik