Getting started with Ajax

Ajax techniques allow a website to update content and process a user request without requiring the page to fully reload. If you're completely new to Ajax, you'll probably want to start with the basics. Read definitions and find examples of Ajax code here.

If you're completely new to Ajax, you'll probably want to start with the basics. Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a method of building interactive applications for the Web that process user requests immediately.

The three major pieces of the Ajax approach are JavaScript, XML and the XMLHttpRequest Object.

JavaScript is a scripting language similar to Visual Basic or Perl. It also shares some of the same ideas found in Java and can be embedded in html Web pages. It's important for an Ajax developer to understand the current JavaScript standard.

XML (extensible markup language) is similar to HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), but unlike HTML tags, XML tags are unlimited and self-defining. A simple tutorial for Handling XML with Ajax might be very helpful.

The XMLHttpRequest object is the piece of the puzzle that allows Ajax applications to run asynchronously. Using the XMLHttpRequest object, an Ajax developer can program applications that are capable of exchanging data between the client and the server behind the scenes, without requiring a new page refresh for each data request individually.

If you found this page interesting you may want to read more from our Ajax tutorial.

This was first published in August 2010

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