A refrain often heard about web applications is the 'speed' of response. Even with a broad band connection, the web applications do not feel like desktop applications. Then, how come gmail is so snappy and fun to use, compared to the rest of webmail providers and even desktop equivalents? The answer is AJAX.
For instance, when you are signing up for a new online service, you might be asked for your country's name. Once you select the countries name, typically, the browser submits (asks you to click a button somewhere) this information to server, the server sends back a list of states/provinces in your country. In the mean time, you are left twiddling your thumbs. In contrast, a AJAX enabled webapp, will send out the country code silently to the Server while you bat your eyelid and fills up the 'provinces' list with relevent entries. All this happens without reloading the page.
So, why is AJAX so exciting? AJAX has managed to excite the web developers of all hues (programmers...designers...artists...usability experts...) by being technology neutral (almost), familiar(JS,CSS,DHTML) and useful(it does make the programmer's life a lot easier). Developing AJAX is NOT easy. It requires the developer to have a good comamnd over a wide set of skillsets and forces him to think in terms of genuine ease of use instead of the old throw-an-ui-at-the-user mindset. At the same it offers the freedom from heavy-duty frameworks like Java and Flash.
The fact that AJAX manages to run on most modern browsers with no additional plugins, makes a compelling case for wider adoption by the developers. We can expect to see an explosion of AJAX applications in near future.
Some of the popular web applications that use AJAX are:
© 2003-2011 Pradeep Gowda