AJAX – What’s New in Web Development

AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript + XML is a collection of existing technologies (standards based XHTML and CSS; the Document Object Model (DOM); XML/XSLT; XMLHttpRequest; and JavaScript) that adds more powerful interactivity to web based documents. It promises to change the way we develop as well as use the web. The primary distinction of AJAX over more traditional concepts such as DHTML is the interactivity with server technology, and basically, avoiding a lot of waiting while the application goes out to the server to retrieve something requested. When a web page loads, the browser actually loads an “AJAX engine” created in JavaScript. The engine becomes responsible for rendering the interface as well as communication with the server. This makes the user experience more interactive asynchronously and independent of communication with the server. Jesse James Garrett’s article tells the story best, as do the links provided below to add to your reading.

This is a major shift in web development, and Google and Adaptive Path have been the lead developers with their new applications referenced in the Garrett article. Google suggest is an excellent example of how it functions.

AJAX: A New Approach to Web Applications (Adaptive Path)
AJAX Patterns – Stylish Scripting: The DHTML & CSS Blog

AJAX Patterns Wiki
The Strange Zen of JavaScript – Scott Andrew
What Kind of Language is XSLT?
Very Dynamic Web Interfaces – The XMLHttpRequest Object
XMLHttpRequest Usability Guidelines
Principles for a Usability-Oriented Pattern Language
Pattern language is a concept from software engineering as well as architecture that is beginning to be reflected in all design disciplines. William Gibson’s recent novel “Pattern Recognition” (2003) reflects this direction. This article will get you introduced to the concepts if you don’t know about it.

Software As She’s Developed: Podcast+Text: The AJAX Web Architecture

And there are two books that relate, both deal with the “new concepts” of using JavaScript/CSS/XHTML. I have asked the library to special order these as they are relatively new, and the only books on the subject that come close to our needs.

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers, by Nicholas C. Zakas, 2005, Wrox, ISBN: 0764579088

DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript and Dom, by Stuart Langridge, Sitepoint, ISBN 0-9579218-9-6 .


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stuart Langridge
    Jun 17, 2005 @ 15:26:58

    I’d love to hear how my book goes over in your classes; that’d be fascinating. Thanks for choosing it!

    Stuart Langridge


  2. Chris Griego
    Jun 18, 2005 @ 14:57:21

    37signals are the crators of my favorite Ajax-enhanced applications.


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