Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications

Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications

Length: 1006 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications

If anything about current interaction design can be called "glamorous," it's creating Web applications. After all, when was the last time you heard someone rave about the interaction design of a product that wasn't on the Web? (Okay, besides the iPod.) All the cool, innovative new projects are online.

Despite this, Web interaction designers can't help but feel a little envious of our colleagues who create desktop software. Desktop applications have a richness and responsiveness that has seemed out of reach on the Web. The same simplicity that enabled the Web's rapid proliferation also creates a gap between the experiences we can provide and the experiences users can get from a desktop application.

That gap is closing. Take a look at Google Suggest. Watch the way the suggested terms update as you type, almost instantly. Now look at Google Maps. Zoom in. Use your cursor to grab the map and scroll around a bit. Again, everything happens almost instantly, with no waiting for pages to reload.

Google Suggest and Google Maps are two examples of a new approach to web applications that we at Adaptive Path have been calling Ajax. The name is shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, and it represents a fundamental shift in what's possible on the Web.

Defining Ajax
Ajax isn't a technology. It's really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:

standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
and JavaScript binding everything together.
The classic web application model works like this: Most user actions in the interface trigger an HTTP request back to a web server. The server does some processing — retrieving data, crunching numbers, talking to various legacy systems — and then returns an HTML page to the client. It's a model adapted from the Web's original use as a hypertext medium, but as fans of The Elements of User Experience know, what makes the Web good for hypertext doesn't necessarily make it good for software applications.

Figure 1: The traditional model for web applications (left) compared to the Ajax model (right).

This approach makes a lot of technical sense, but it doesn't make for a great user experience. While the server is doing its thing, what's the user doing? That's right, waiting. And at every step in a task, the user waits some more.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jul 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=158291>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Web Based Live Chatting System Using C# Essay

- A Web Based Live Chatting System Using C# Submitted as part of the requirements for: CE902 Professional Practice and Research Methodology Date: 25 June 2010 Abstract: This document presents a proposal of MSc project, which is about a web based live chatting system. Live chatting software is fast growing in web-based applications....   [tags: Information Technology ]

Research Papers
1485 words (4.2 pages)

Essay about How Technology Has Changed All Around Us

- Background Importance of Topic “Currently, we use the web quite differently than the purpose for which it was originally conceived” (Murugesan, 14). With this in mind, it’s important to realize the concept of the web has changed all around us. In the early years of web application development, developers were given a set of basic options as to which web development technologies to choose from ranging from Ajax to Ruby on Rails (Taivalsaari, 4). Now the number of web technologies spans greater and greater by the day, just like the web itself; web applications have begun to vary wildly in scope and complexity (Murugesan, 14)....   [tags: World Wide Web, Web 2.0, Web page]

Research Papers
1415 words (4 pages)

Sophocles' Ajax - The Destruction of a Greek Hero Essay

- Sophocles' Ajax - The Destruction of a Greek Hero Sophocles' Ajax, written around 440 B.C., deals with the destruction of the Greek hero Ajax, who is sometimes considered the greatest warrior of the Trojan War, second only to Achilles. Ajax, driven insane by the goddess Athena, slaughtered the Greek herds of cattle, thinking that they were Greeks, to avenge them for rewarding the armor of Achilles to Odysseus instead of him. Only after coming to his senses, he realized that he was disgraced and he committed suicide....   [tags: Sophocles Ajax Essays]

Research Papers
716 words (2 pages)

Semantic Web: An Enhancement of the Current Web Essay

- The vast content of the World-Wide Web is used by millions. Many users employs a search engine to begin their Web activity. The query is usually a list of keywords, and the result returned is also a list of Web pages that may or may not be relevant, typically pages that contain the keywords [4]. The web of today lacks metadata which can be read by other computers. Metadata is data about data, such that, it would be possible to distinguish between 1984 (a number), 1984 (a date), 1984 (a film starring John Hurt) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (a novel by George Orwell)....   [tags: web of tomorrow, search engine, query]

Research Papers
1040 words (3 pages)

The Internet And World Wide Web Essay

- While technology continues to grow, communities across the world use devices differently based on the abilities they want them to perform. Some communities prefer the simple information based web services inputted by humans, while some are for the advancement to the point that computers can generate new information on the web. This change from the concept of Web 1.0 to Web 3.0 can affect the way different parts society function through daily activities. As technology allows us to access the web anywhere in the world due to the different devices society possess, the idea of accessing the internet and the world-wide web continue to be interchangeable....   [tags: World Wide Web, Web 2.0, Internet]

Research Papers
2100 words (6 pages)

The Deep Web As A Public Sphere Essay

- shown through the use of technology like search engines as discussed above, functioning to prioritize larger corporations like Buzzfeed or Facebook. This structurally silences the minor opinions of smaller web forums that are compulsory to formulating public opinion. In turn, as previously discussed, the Deep Web does not feature similar search engine prioritization technologies, thus improving its inclusiveness. Anonymity and independence were found to be necessary components to the consideration of the Deep Web as a public sphere....   [tags: World Wide Web, Internet, Deep Web, Surface Web]

Research Papers
1370 words (3.9 pages)

The Cliptomania Web Store : An Overview Essay example

- Cliptomania: An Overview “The Cliptomania Web Store” is a case study which analyses the strategic challenges faced by the founders of www.Cliptomania.com. The Santos, Jim and Candy, developed the idea of selling clip on earrings when they discovered an underserved niche in the market place and subsequently established Cliptomania, LLC. When the Santo’s family started the company in 1999 they had little competition and managed to create a stable business with increased growth, despite the investment of little start up cost and a somewhat limited knowledge of the dot.com industry....   [tags: World Wide Web, Internet, Web page]

Research Papers
1020 words (2.9 pages)

Essay The Strategic Implications of Web Technologies

- I. INTRODUCTION The web and the Internet as we know it today had experienced a vast trend of changes. In the early days of web technologies, the Internet was only comprised of simple web pages that displayed information, most of which were from scientific writings. As technologies become more mature, web sites were now able to display dynamic content, as well as to provide interactive elements on their web pages. However, there were no definite standards on how web technologies should be implemented, and thus the implementation of such advanced web technology features become quite difficult....   [tags: business, web pages, internet]

Research Papers
1430 words (4.1 pages)

A Report On Web Design Essay

- There 's an emerging trend in website design. Many have switched from building a website that has depth and third-dimension elements toward a stripped-down version that resembles a flat, single-surface viewing experience. This flat design is one of the hottest trends in web design to pop up across the web in 2016. But, is this one of those trends that is going to spread like wildfire and then burn itself out, or is it here to stay. Let 's look at why this web design model is currently trending and what the future holds for flat design....   [tags: World Wide Web, Website, Design, Web design]

Research Papers
870 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on The Dependability of the Web

- The Dependability of the Web A new age is upon us - the computer age. More specifically, the internet. There's no doubt that the internet has changed how fast and the way we communicate and get information. The popularity of the net is rising at a considerable rate. Traffic, the number of people on the web, is four times what it was a year ago and every thirty seconds someone new logs on to the net to experience for themselves what everyone is talking about. Even Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, a company that really looks into the future in order to stay ahead of the competition, said the internet is one part of the computer business that he really underestimated....   [tags: Web Internet Technology Essays]

Research Papers
1215 words (3.5 pages)



Obviously, if we were designing the Web from scratch for applications, we wouldn't make users wait around. Once an interface is loaded, why should the user interaction come to a halt every time the application needs something from the server? In fact, why should the user see the application go to the server at all?

How Ajax is Different
An Ajax application eliminates the start-stop-start-stop nature of interaction on the Web by introducing an intermediary — an Ajax engine — between the user and the server. It seems like adding a layer to the application would make it less responsive, but the opposite is true.

Instead of loading a webpage, at the start of the session, the browser loads an Ajax engine — written in JavaScript and usually tucked away in a hidden frame. This engine is responsible for both rendering the interface the user sees and communicating with the server on the user's behalf. The Ajax engine allows the user's interaction with the application to happen asynchronously — independent of communication with the server. So the user is never staring at a blank browser window and an hourglass icon, waiting around for the server to do something.

Figure 2: The synchronous interaction pattern of a traditional web application (top) compared with the asynchronous pattern of an Ajax application (bottom).

Every user action that normally would generate an HTTP request takes the form of a JavaScript call to the Ajax engine instead. Any response to a user action that doesn't require a trip back to the server — such as simple data validation, editing data in memory, and even some navigation — the engine handles on its own. If the engine needs something from the server in order to respond — if it's submitting data for processing, loading additional interface code, or retrieving new data — the engine makes those requests asynchronously, usually using XML, without stalling a user's interaction with the application.

Who's Using Ajax
Google is making a huge investment in developing the Ajax approach. All of the major products Google has introduced over the last year — Orkut, Gmail, the latest beta version of Google Groups, Google Suggest, and Google Maps — are Ajax applications. (For more on the technical nuts and bolts of these Ajax implementations, check out these excellent analyses of Gmail, Google Suggest, and Google Maps.) Others are following suit: many of the features that people love in Flickr depend on Ajax, and Amazon's A9.com search engine applies similar techniques.

These projects demonstrate that Ajax is not only technically sound, but also practical for real-world applications. This isn't another technology that only works in a laboratory. And Ajax applications can be any size, from the very simple, single-function Google Suggest to the very complex and sophisticated Google Maps.

At Adaptive Path, we've been doing our own work with Ajax over the last several months, and we're realizing we've only scratched the surface of the rich interaction and responsiveness that Ajax applications can provide. Ajax is an important development for Web applications, and its importance is only going to grow. And because there are so many developers out there who already know how to use these technologies, we expect to see many more organizations following Google's lead in reaping the competitive advantage Ajax provides.

Moving Forward
The biggest challenges in creating Ajax applications are not technical. The core Ajax technologies are mature, stable, and well understood. Instead, the challenges are for the designers of these applications: to forget what we think we know about the limitations of the Web, and begin to imagine a wider, richer range of possibilities.

It's going to be fun.
Return to 123HelpMe.com