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Ajax and the Rennaissance

There’s been loads of buzz lately surrounding a set of web technologies which Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path recently named “Ajax.” Simply put, Ajax refers to the use of Asynchronous Javascript and XML in web applications to help speed and improve user experience by reducing page loads.

I got a chance to mess around with some of these techniques recently on my final project for my current employer. Even something as simple as a User Account Request form benefitted greatly from the implementation of this technology. When a user requests an account, if the username they’ve selected is already taken, they are notified as soon as their cursor moves out of the Username field. No submit required.

Some high-profile implementations of Ajax include power houses like Google’s Gmail, Google Suggest, and Flickr.

This new movement towards Ajax technologies and the excitement surrounding the implementations mentioned above have sparked a bit of a rennaissance in the web development field, at least in terms of the excitement some of us are feeling towards the future of web application development. Hello, Web 2.0!

Some Ajax Links:
Jason Fried warns developers to not forget the users in all the excitement over the technology
Drew McLellan walks us through an Ajax script (I should note that this is where I drew inspiration for my User Account Request page)
Apple’s Developer Connection on Dynamic HTML and XML
And, why not Google Search results for XMLHttpRequest
And if this all sounds somehow familiar, let’s call it DHTML ’05

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  1. lumpy

    Dave – I’ll be taking some time to look into this stuff a bit more, hopefully sometime tomorrow. The project we’re initiating has some strong “real time” reservation requirements (more about “real time” later…)

    It strikes me as another interesting way of approaching the RIA (Rich Internet Application) user experience. As I mentioned in my ColdFusion “rant” I’ve been looking at Flex and Flash as way of accessing (in this case) XML data feeds. Seems very interesting and quite promising. At any rate, I’m looking forward to reading more about the Ajax approach and comparing it to the Flash model.

  2. dsamojlenko

    I’ll rant some other time about why I think that Macromedia putting all their eggs in the RIA basket is a bad thing for the company, and bad for the web.

    I’ll just leave it at this: I believe that the Web will naturally reject Proprietary solutions in favour of open standards. Ajax is open.

    Besides, check out what people are doing without Flash… that’s right, this is not a flash site. Drag and Drop Shopping cart. Be sure to drag stuff off your cart and marvel at the ‘poof’ animation.

  3. dsamojlenko

    And yes, I fully expect you to laugh and call me a communist for that second paragraph.

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