Short for asynchronous JavaScript and XML, Ajax is a method of building interactive Web applications that can retrieve data from the server without interfering with the front-end display or function.  Ajax technologies

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have helped make Internet access one of the most important reasons for using a computer. Ajax has made rich internet applications, including video, music, and dynamic user interfaces--features once limited to desktop applications--readily available on Web pages. As a result, the use of desktop applications has declined and the use of Web services has increased dramatically.

In order to enhance Web application performance, the Ajax approach relies on an API, such as XMLHttpRequest, to enable asynchronous communication between the server and the client. The Ajax approach takes advantage of several existing programming tools--not only JavaScript and XML, but also cascading style sheets (CSS), dynamic HTML (DHTML), and more. One of the most important tools in the Ajax tool chest is JSON, which shares similarities with both JavaScript and XML.

The tools, techniques and methods employed by Ajax were already in place before Jesse James Garret coined the phrase in 2005. Since then, the Ajax approach has grown by leaps and bounds. The popularity of Ajax is due mostly to its ability to simplify and accelerate Web applications, but also in part to efforts of Ajax enthusiasts like Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer. Ben and Dion started an Ajax blog in 2005 which became a central fixture of the burgeoning Ajaxian community. That community still lives and continues to grow at Ajaxian.com.

Other Ajax resources on SearchSOA.com

This was first published in August 2010

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