AJAX FOR DUMMIES
- What does AJAX mean?
In non-AJAX websites stuff only happens when the page is reloaded. Asynchronous means that stuff also happens between pageloads. Example: you click a button and a picture appears, without reload.
- Thats nothing new!
- So, what is new about AJAX? What makes it so special?
The name. The techniques we now call AJAX were used long before the year 2005. But they didn't have a name. The horror. In 2005 Jesse James Garret coined the name AJAX to denote these techniques.
- Bummer. But why does everybody talks about AJAX?
It is hip. It is web2.0. It is the Future(tm). So basically, it's just a mediahype.
- Should I use AJAX?
Develop your webapps like you always did. Some techniques you used can be called 'AJAX', but throwing in some extra 'functionality' for the sake of being able to say your webapp uses AJAX is not a good idea.
- What has AJAX brought us?
A broken browser-history and broken backbutton. Ever been at a website, and after hitting the backbutton you were taken to a page you didn't want to go to? That's AJAX for you. One of the examples Garret used to describe AJAX was GMail. Ironically Google apps, including GMail, do not use "asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest" (http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/essays/archives/000385.php). Why not? Because XMLHttpRequest breaks your backbutton. Other problems rise with bookmarks and viewing pages offline.
- Where can I look at some good examples of AJAX use?
- Where can I look at some bad examples of AJAX use?
95 out of 100 websites using AJAX use it badly or at best it adds nothing of value to your userexperience. Take your pick.
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