AJAX - why is ajax cool? what does ajax do?

chris (2006-04-07 16:22:57)
0 replies
Somebody asked me about AJAX today. I feel I encapsulated the question and answer quite succinctly, so figured I'd post it up here for posterity..

> Are you familiar with AJAX? Is it more than just hype?
> Is the web a good environment for software development?

Yes I am familiar with AJAX and I agree there has been much hype surrounding AJAX, although not altogether unfounded. We have suddenly realised that we can make HTTP requests out of the backend of a browser without having to do page reloads - that's the bottom line, but the implications of this have been far reaching. AJAX has enabled us to run rich-client applications in the browser and has shifted the whole web paradigm to one of Applications Service Provision, rather than just delivering web pages. I feel the AJAX definition should stop there and it's now up to software developers to innovate and invent and come up with beneficial ways of using this technology.

> � Can you suggest some characteristics of an application that would make it
> better suited to deployment thru ajax than on the desktop, and vice versa?

Any application which a user might want access to from different computers or locations is fair game for AJAX. Running over port 80/443 also means that we can push our applications through corporate firewalls and of course onto any platform - be it PC, Mac, Linux or BSD. Web 2.0 does away with the need for software installations, so security considerations are minimised, delivery times are reduced and of course updates to software have immediate effect on every single client, so critical fixes can be applied with immediate effect.

So there you have it - a common-sense answer to the hype surrounding Ajax.